Jailing in Russia of Navalny staff ‘attempt to disrupt’

(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, right, shows a V-sign for the media in court in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 30, 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected Western calls for the release of jailed protesters, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in his first public comments about a wave of nationwide rallies against government corruption.

In a phone call with reporters on Monday, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted the Kremlin was analyzing the scale of Sunday’s protests and accused Navalny of luring young Russians onto the streets with promises of money.

But scores of demonstrators, including children, took to streets of Moscow and other cities to express their anger over the corruption investigations; they were also outraged over Putin’s expected re-election in a presidential poll next year.

Thousands protest against corruption in the Russian capital as police detain opposition leader Alexei Navalny in central Moscow.

One of the elements of his campaign was the establishment of “headquarters” in many regions of the country, and also the emergence of a documentary film about his investigation into the corrupt machinations of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

It is the young whom Mr Putin must fear, because they are less impressed by hollow foreign triumphs in places they don’t care about, and more unhappy about an economic future that leaves majority bumping along the bottom. Stiff sentences given to many protesters back then had discouraged dissent.

The video has been viewed more than 14 million times on YouTube alone. Residents who came out to protest found utility workers digging up the sidewalk in an apparent attempt to hinder the gathering. Navalny was sentenced to 15 days in prison Monday.

Putin past year gave the party’s leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a medal for services to Russian Federation.

PARIS (Reuters) – France voiced concern on Monday at bans on anti-corruption demonstrations in Russian Federation and the detention of hundreds of protesters and it urged Moscow to respect its worldwide commitments on freedom of expression.

Percentage of people polled that backed schoolchildren taking part in protests. Human rights groups, however, estimated that police detained at least 1,000 people. Stirred to action by a viral YouTube video, this was a new generation of political activists who can not remember life without Mr. Putin or the economic maelstrom of the 1990s.

“Freedoms of protest, meeting, association and expression are fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Russian constitution and the global commitments which Russia has subscribed to”.

The Moscow protest was one of more than 90 rallies that took place Sunday across the country, from Vladivostok in Siberia to Kaliningrad in the Baltics.

Peskov also said Friday that Russian officials aren’t anxious about what might emerge from any congressional testimony under immunity by ousted US national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying there is “no evidence at all” of any improprieties. Past year saw a spike in labor protests, mostly related to unpaid wages. That’s what Russian officials have been told. But young people who do not remember those times have different priorities than those even a few years older, said Yekaterina Schulmann, a political analyst.

Younger Russians seemed to dominate Sunday’s rallies, despite threats from authorities that they would face fines and imprisonment. Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation has promised to offer legal assistance to all those who were arrested. He posted a selfie on Twitter from the courtroom on Monday morning, saying: “A time will come when we’ll put them on trial too – and that time it will be fair”.

Navalny has declared his intention to run for president and vowed to appeal a conviction that bars him from the race, which he denounced as politically-driven. “I trust Navalny, that is why I chose to participate in the demonstration”, he said, adding that he was “not scared of anything”. Social elevators don’t work, at some point you just hit the glass ceiling that doesn’t let you go further – because in Russian Federation the elite is full; there’s no room for anyone else.

Russia slams West's reaction to protests as 'double-standards'