Navalny: a savvy and determined Kremlin foe

The European Union is calling on Russian authorities to release demonstrators detained during a series of protests across the country on Sunday.

The lawyer turned activist, who has announced plans to run for president next year, called Sunday's protests after publishing a report accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of amassing lavish properties through a murky network of non-profit organisations.

At a news conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "There is information that underage participants of the demonstration in Moscow were offered money if they were detained".

Thousands of people on Sunday took part in anti-corruption rallies called by Navalny in Moscow and some other cities.

The Moscow business newspaper Vedomosti said younger Russians have become politicized and have a high level of distrust of authority.

Moscow's protests coincided with similar rallies in 99 cities across the country, according to Mr. Navalny's foundation.

The US and the European Union both issued statements calling on Russian Federation to free detained protesters, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that such calls were wide of the mark.

Navalny, who was arrested at a Sunday's demonstration, was sentenced by a court in Moscow on Monday afternoon for resisting police orders, the BBC reported.

According to police, Navalny was detained during the protest as he refused to leave the scene and offered resistance to police.

After arriving in court yesterday morning, Mr Navalny tweeted a selfie with the caption: "A time will come when we'll put them on trial too - and that time it will be fair". Independent Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy reported unsanctioned rallies took place Sunday in 82 cities across Russian Federation, bringing together about 60,000 opposition supporters. These people demand political representation.

As reported by CNBC, Navalny is the leader of Russia's opposition Progress Party.

"Now the authorities have to think what to do about that: most likely there will be a combination of kind of placating from one side and going and putting a lot of people behind bars", said Felgenhauer.

And yesterday - better late than never - White House press secretary Sean Spicer read an official White House condemnation of the actions and called on Russian Federation to immediately release the protesters.

Whether Navalny and his associates will be slapped with new charges could indicate which approach the Kremlin will take in dealing with a new wave of discontent: crack down on it even further or exercise restraint.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement condemning the detentions, adding Washington was troubled by the arrest of Navalny.

The New York Times reported that 100 anti-Putin rallies took place across Russian Federation.

On December 30, 2014, Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky Court found the Navalny brothers guilty of embezzling Yves Rocher funds and sentenced Alexey Navalny to a suspended sentence of 3 years and 6 months with a probation period of five years.

  • Leroy Wright