Putin critic Navalny jailed after protests

The protests were reminiscent of the mass anti-government rallies that swept Russian Federation in 2011 over vote-rigging after a parliamentary election, which snowballed into the biggest challenge against Mr Putin since he took power.

The report also accused Mr Medvedev of having a special house for a duck on one of his properties and on Sunday, some demonstrators held up images of yellow rubber ducks.

The Russian constitution allows public gatherings, but recent laws have criminalised protests unauthorised by city authorities, which frequently refuse to grant permission for rallies by Kremlin critics. Navalny was grabbed by police while walking to the rally from a nearby subway station.

It's a comparatively lenient punishment for organizing an unsanctioned rally for which he faced up to 15 days in jail.

The 40-year old Navalny, arguably Russia's most popular opposition leader, has been twice convicted on fraud and embezzlement charges that he has dismissed as politically motivated.

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. Police arrested those who were holding posters or chanting slogans.

"It could be that they're taking an entirely different view to the post-Soviet generation immediately before them, that is nostalgic for the glory days of a Soviet Union they never knew", he said, conceding that this was "an optimistic explanation".

"Detaining peaceful protesters, human rights observers, and journalists is an affront to core democratic values", a State Department spokesman said.

Tens of thousands of Russians joined the anti-corruption protests called by Alexei Navalny, despite the likelihood of arrests and gratuitous violence from OMON riot police and Russian President Vladimir Putin's own "National guard" [Rosgvardiya].

Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption blogger who heads Russia's Progress Party, called for the nationwide protests after he published reports claiming that Medvedev controlled mansions, yachts and vineyards - a fortune that far outstripped his official salary.

He is now trying to unseat former-President Medvedev over allegations that he has amassed a collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards during his time in government. Conducted in the second part of February, it showed that 47 percent of respondents recognized his name, whereas only 6 percent did in 2011.

Though criticised by some liberals for his anti-immigrant nationalist stance, Navalny has tapped into discontent among the young urban middle class with fiery speeches and Western-style campaigning.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said the White House should condemn arrests of anti-Putin protesters in Russian Federation. Out of more than 80 rally authorisation requests across Russian Federation, only 21 were granted by the local authorities.

  • Zachary Reyes