Russian “President” Vladimir Putin has long bene one fo the world’s last true bad guys, operating within a de facto “axis of evil” with his buddies in North Korea, China, and Iran. Of all of these nations, however, Russia has been the most blatant about their disdain for critics, openly attacking those who look to speak ill of the nation.
Now, after one such enemy of the Kremlin was arrested on his return home to Russia, (after being poisoned for his criticism of the country), massive anti-Putin protests have erupted.
As with any and all dissidence, however, Putin worked to put his foot down almost immediately.
Russian police arrested more than 3,000 people Saturday in nationwide protests demanding the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin’s most prominent foe, according to a group that counts political detentions.
The protests in scores of cities in temperatures as low as minus-50 C (minus-58 F) highlighted how Navalny has built influence far beyond the political and cultural centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In Moscow, an estimated 15,000 demonstrators gathered in and around Pushkin Square in the city center, where clashes with police broke out and demonstrators were roughly dragged off by helmeted riot officers to police buses and detention trucks. Some were beaten with batons.
Navalny’s wife Yulia was among those arrested.
The 3,068 arrests came from over 90 cities across the vast expanse of Russia, illustrating the widespread disdain for Navalny’s arrest.
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