Russia sees largest protests in recent history, over 3,500 detained

More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23. Most people were detained in Moscow and St. Petersburg (1,396 and 525 people, respectively). This is a record number for the entire period of protesting actions in Russia.

Protests in Moscow

Unauthorized actions of protest took place in 110 cities of Russia, which thus set a record in the history of protest actions in Russia's modern history. Russians took to the streets in the following cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Abakan, Almetyevsk, Anapa, Angarsk, Armavir, Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Balakovo, Barnaul, Belgorod, Blagoveshchensk, Bratsk, Bryansk, Velikiye Luki, Veliky Novgorod, Vladivostok, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Gelendzhik, Gorno-Altaysk, Dimitrovgrad, Yekaterinburg, Ivanovo, Izhevsk, Irkutsk, Yoshkar-Ola, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kolchugino, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Kostroma, Kotlas, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Kurgan, Kursk, Lipetsk, Magadan, Magnitogorsk, Murmansk, Murom, Naberezhnye Chelny, Nizhny Novgorod, Novokuznetsk, Novorossiysk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Penza, Perm- Zalessky, Pskov, Pyatigorsk, Rostov-on-Don, Rybinsk, Ryazan, Samara, Saransk, Saratov, Sayanogorsk, Severomorsk, Severodvinsk, Simferopol, Sochi, Stavropol, Stary Oskol, Sterlitamak, Syktyvkar, Tambov, Tverol, Tula, Tobacco , Togliatti, T Yumen, Ulan-Ude, Ulyanovsk, Ufa, Ukhta, Khabarovsk, Cheboksary, Chelyabinsk, Cherepovets, Chita, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Yakutsk, Yalutorovsk, Yaroslavl. In Yakutsk, protesters took to the streets despite freezing Arctic temperatures (-54 Centigrade).

The people were protesting against the arbitrariness of the authorities and expressing their support for freedom, demanding Alexey Navalny be released.

Protest actions were held in dozens of cities abroad: Berlin, Munich, Prague, Krakow, Helsinki, The Hague, Vienna, a number of US cities, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, London, Tokyo and other cities.

In Moscow, where the protests were the largest, violent clashes between the protesters and the riot police took place. The protests subsided in the evening near Matrosskaya Tishina penitentiary institution, where Navalny is being kept.

The law-enforcers, who were pelted with snowballs throughout the day, carried out mass detentions in a violent fashion. Many protesters were injured, wounded or beaten. Dozens of journalists were also detained even though they were wearing "press" vests and had their press IDs.

The incident in St. Petersburg attracted a lot of public and media attention. The incident occurred when a woman asked three riot policemen, who were detaining a young man, for what reason they were arresting him. One of the officers, in full gear, kicked the woman in the stomach, knocking her down on the asphalt road. The woman was rushed to hospital, where she was diagnosed with a concussion and a closed head injury.

The woman was later identified as Margarita Yudina, a 54-year-old resident of St. Petersburg. It was reported that the woman remains in critical condition.

The authorities reported that 39 security officers were hurt in the protests. The Investigative Committee launched a pre-investigation into the facts of violence against police officers. The detainees were taken to police stations throughout the city, and many had to spend the night there.

On Saturday evening, Navalny's associate Leonid Volkov announced that the protests would continue next weekend.

It is worthy of note that the investigatiму documentary by Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) "Palace for Putin. The story of the biggest bribe", published on January 19 on YouTube, had received nearly 80 million views by January 24. The two-hour documentary tells about the palace, which is still being built at the expense of state-owned oil companies Rosneft and Transneft. The companies are headed by Putin's close friends, Igor Sechin and Nikolai Tokarev.