Tens of Thousands Across Russia Are Protesting Alexei Navalny’s Arrest

Clashes with police quickly turned violent.

Pavel Golovkin/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Large demonstrations in support of Alexei Navalny, the prominent Kremlin-critic who was jailed last week upon returning to Russia for the first time since he was poisoned in an August assassination plot, erupted across the country on Saturday, with police quickly turning violent against protesters demanding Navalny’s release. 

On January 17, Navalny was immediately detained after flying to Moscow from Berlin, where he had spent months recovering from a nerve agent attack that nearly killed him. Western authorities traced the assassination attempt on Navalny back to Russia’s domestic intelligence agency—responsibility for which Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny. If the Russian state had wanted to kill Navalny, Putin—a former KGB officer before he entered politics—said in some rather harrowing comments in December, they would have “finished the job.”

The return and subsequent detention of the Kremlin’s most prominent opposition leader are now sparking the country’s largest protests in years, as demonstrators call for the government to drop its charges that Navalny is guilty of violating parole conditions—charges they say are nothing but an attempt to silence Putin’s critics. The Guardian reported that 1870 people have been arrested so farincluding, reportedly Pavel Golovkin, Navalny’s wife. Footage from the protests show riot police violently attacking protesters:

The demonstrations drew the support of several United States lawmakers, including Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager in Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial over the former president’s efforts to coerce Ukraine into intervening in the presidential election. “Russians are taking to the streets today in the freezing cold to peacefully demand freedom, human rights for all their citizens, an end to corruption, and the immediate release of Alexei Navalny,” the Democrat tweeted as images rolled in. ” I stand with them. The United States, and the world, must stand with them, too.”

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate