Putin Critic Alexei Navalny Arrested At Gigantic Anti-Government Protests In Moscow
Hours after he was given a suspended criminal fraud sentence on Tuesday, Russian opposition leader and outspoken Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny was arrested for joining an unsanctioned, antigovernment protest in Moscow. Navalny broke his house arrest to join the protestors supporting him in Manezh Square, tweeting a photo on his way. He was arrested almost immediately upon arriving at the demonstration.
Earlier that day, Navalny escaped a three-and-a-half year imprisonment for allegedly stealing 16 million rubles from two companies. But his brother Oleg, a postal worker with a wife and two children, was not so lucky. Oleg's sentencing is widely believed to be a tactical move from the Kremlin, who are seeking to torment Navalny for his opposition to Putin. As the verdict was read, Navalny shouted:
Why are you jailing him? This is a dirty trick. To punish me more?
The entire debacle is a crafty punishment for Navalny, who runs a popular blog and is, perhaps, Putin's most public opposition. Navalny had gained popularity in Moscow, coming in second in last year's mayoral election with 27 percent of the vote. But Tuesday's charge was only one of a series of alleged criminal acts the courts have brought against Navalny. The opposition leader insists that the charges are mere tactical moves by Putin, because convicted felons are not allowed to hold office in Russia.
Navalny urged the protestors to continue until they were forced to leave via Twitter.
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