Thousands of Protesters Arrested as People Rally in Support of Russian Opposition Leader Navalny

People+Gather+in+St.+Petersburg+following+Navalny%27s+detainment.

Olga Maltseva/ AFP via Getty Images

People Gather in St. Petersburg following Navalny’s detainment.

Trevor Buckridge, Contributing Writer

As protests go on across Russia, thousands have been arrested for rallying against the current president, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian government, which many have branded as corrupt.

In August of 2020, Alexey Navalny, the leader of the opposition to the Russian government, was poisoned, and he spent the last five months in Germany recovering from this near-fatal incident. Although no official investigation was conducted as to who poisoned Navalny, Putin himself admitted to having a team of people follow Alexey. 

After returning to Russia just two weeks ago, Navalny was immediately detained by Russian officials, and he may be kept in jail for several years under suspended charges he originally received in 2014. The politician was officially arrested due to alleged violations of his parole for embezzlement charges put against him 7 years ago. The details of this original trial were shady, and the 3 ½ year sentence was eventually ruled as unjust by the European Court of Human Rights.

The recent protests occurring in Russia are a response to the detainment of Alexey Navalny and several others from his team, including his brother Oleg. 

Although protesting in Russia has ramped up after the arrest of Navalny, rallying has been going on across Russia for months following several amendments made to the Russian constitution in the summer. These amendments included a ban on gay marriage, an extension of Putin’s now 20-year long term, and criminal immunity for Putin.

The recent protests have garnered attention from across the world, and the involvement of the Biden administration, which has spoken out against the Russian government, has drawn in a lot of Americans. Lizzie Beyer, a sophomore at Hingham High explained, “I think it’s pretty crazy that stuff like this is still happening in the world. I think a lot of us take American democracy for granted.” Lauren Brockwell, another student at Hingham High also added, “The way [Navalny] has been treated for his actions is unfair, but I believe the protests are hopeful.”

Will the recent pressure both within Russia and from other nations cause the Russian government to finally crack, or will they continue to roll over anyone who opposes Putin’s presidency?