Protests against the arrest and detention of Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, have broken out across Russia.
Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent
on 20th August 2020, was arrested on 17th January as he returned to Moscow from Germany where he had received medical treatment.
On 18th January, a makeshift court, set up in a police station, ordered Navalny's further detention until 15th February, for violating his parole. Another hearing is due to be held on 29th January to determine whether his suspended sentence should be replaced with a jail term.
Today, 23rd January, protests against Navalny’s detention have broken out across Russia. Such protests are not entirely new. Whilst they’ve not been given coverage by western media, protests against President Putin have been a common feature of life in cities across Russia for around 18 months. What is new the scale and widespread character of today's protests which represent a marked escalation.
Some 76 people are reported to have been arrested and are being detained in a police station in the city of Novisibrsk (present temperature -18c). Protests have also taken place in the city of Yakutsk, despite temperatures of -51c.
Navalny is not the first Russian opposed President Putin to have been poisoned with military grade toxins. Two prominent attacks took place in the United Kingdom, against Alexander Litvenenko, who was poisoned with Pelonium 210 in 2006, and Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned with Novichok in Salisbury in 2018.