Thousands of Russians took to the streets today to protest; the official response was as you would expect. Reuters notes that
Police detained hundreds of protesters across Russia on Sunday, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, after thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The protests, reckoned to be the biggest since a wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in 2011/2012, come a year before a presidential election which Vladimir Putin is expected to contest, running for what would be a fourth term.
According to the Financial Times, more than 7,000 people were detained. And leave it to RT to point out that the protests were considered “unsanctioned” by the government, a polite way of defending the suppression of free speech.
It’s doubtful Medvedev will resign, though it’s clear that Navlany will not relent in his criticism of him. Newsweek has explored the relationship between the men and suggests
In a report released in March, the activist claimed Medvedev had secretly amassed an “empire” of assets (including yachts and a vineyard) and luxury real estate, via questionable deals.
According to Navalny, Medvedev uses a web of charities run by his associates to conceal these deals. He made the link after cross-referencing alleged leaks from Medvedev’s transactions under an online alias with Medvedev’s possessions. The account in question had ordered a series of shirts and flashy sneakers that Medvedev has been photographed wearing.
Navalny’s video presentation of the investigation has garnered over 11 million views on YouTube in the past three weeks. The report has found rare traction within the Russian political establishment too. Members of Russia’s Communist Party, the second biggest in parliament behind Medvedev’s United Russia, which it tends to back on most issues, vowed to investigate Navalny’s findings.
It appears President Trump cares zero about democratic protests taking place in a country where democracy exists in name only. The president hasn’t offered a single tweet in support of the protesters nor to voice concern about the heavy-handed response.
Perhaps he’s golfing.