Jailing in Russia of Navalny staff 'attempt to disrupt'

It has been a long time since Russian Federation has seen such protests.

The protests, estimated to be the biggest since a wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in 2011-2012, come a year before a presidential election that Vladimir Putin is expected to contest, running for what would be a fourth term.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny appears in a courtroom after being detained during an anti-corruption rally in Moscow on March 27, 2017. Vladimir Pozner is an independent journalist in Russian Federation. "It's hard to find sane people in any country who would be for corruption, so I think Yekaterinburg residents had all the reasons to come to the rally", he said. And everyone's affected from top to bottom, one way or the other.

MCEVERS: And why is it that it's been so long since there have been protests?

This is the scale of corruption and the degree of impunity that drew all those protestors into the streets on Sunday.

"Older generations have more things to lose but while I'm young I can use this privilege", says Nizhivenko, who dismisses suggestions that she should fear for her safety for speaking against authorities. I lost it physically when I was forced to leave in December 2012, and I lost it morally when Russian Federation invaded Ukraine two years later.

He described the young people that took to the streets on Sunday as part of the "generation of smartphones that grew up in a time of relative stability and is bored and needs a makeover".

"What we saw yesterday in certain places, and especially in Moscow, was a provocation". He was also fined for organizing the protest, which the authorities said was illegal. And they got to the population.

While the chance of the Kremlin allowing Navalny to even campaign is extremely slim, the recent protests - and the politician's popularity with a younger, internet-savvy crowd - show that the young voice of dissent in Russian Federation could gain considerable steam.

POZNER: Well, he must be in his late 30s, maybe early 40s. What is more, they were watched live on the internet. And I think that perhaps his American experience led him to become politically much more active. His popular support has held up well despite three years of economic decline because of falling oil income, and it may even carry him safely through next year's presidential election. He's always been on his own. But she sneaked out to join the opposition protest in Moscow on Sunday - without telling her parents. The country's media did not cover the allegations against Putin extensively, and the president dismissed the accusations as a foreign plot to weaken Russian Federation. At least 500 protesters were detained.

The word gets out very quickly of course. "It was one of 99 similar rallies in cities and towns across the country - from Vladivostok in the far east to Kaliningrad in the west - according to the organizer, Mr. Navalny's anti-corruption foundation". Western sanctions allowed Kremlin propagandists to portray Russian Federation as beleaguered but with domestic problems piling up, the patriotic theme is wearing thin. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

"Why do I believe that what is happening right now is wrong?"

MCEVERS: There's obviously a lot of talk about Russian Federation here in the United States these days and about the new administration and its ties to Russian Federation. Residents who came out to protest found utility workers digging up the sidewalk in an apparent attempt to hinder the gathering.

POZNER: No, it certainly doesn't.

"I'm really happy that a generation has been born in the country who want to be citizens, who aren't afraid", he said. They say what's going on there in America?

Opinion polls suggest Navalny, who hopes to run against Putin, has little chance of unseating the Russian leader, who enjoys high ratings.

On Monday, Putin met with senior officers of the National Guard, which took part in arresting participants in the demonstrations along with police, but he didn't mention the protest. Many were quite young.

POZNER: I'm certain and certainly.

"For a country that is so rich in natural resources, we are too poor", Andrei, 16, who protested in Moscow told The Atlantic.

  • Leroy Wright