While politics in America at times can feel overwhelming and oppressive, we do often get a reminder that there are countries where citizens are rallying against their government's corruption. This weekend in Russia, people gathered to protest against corruption in President Vladimir Putin's regime. And through the chaos, an image of a woman being carried by Russian police during the protests became a powerful symbol of resistance.
According to BuzzFeed, the woman whom the officers are carrying by her arms and legs is Olga Lozina, a graduate of Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, who attended the weekend protest with her family.
Russian authorities reportedly arrested more than 1,000 protestors during the weekend demonstrations. The various demonstrations were organized by Alexey Navalny, an opposition leader in Russia and huge Putin critic who accused Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of accepting bribes and using them to purchase things like houses and yachts. On Monday, Navalny was jailed for 15 days and fined 20,000 roubles for his role in the protest and for allegedly resisting police orders. New York Magazine reported that Navalny plans to run for president. If so, he certainly will receive some attention and support from those who protested with him.
Lozina told a Russian news outlet that she was observing the crowd from the top of a flower bed with some other protesters when police ordered for them to come down. When the last person descended, he was taken to a police van with his hands tied. Lozina said her mother then asked police why the man was detained, and she too was taken to the van. Next thing Lozina knew, she was being carried away toward the van herself. Per BuzzFeed, the entire arrest happened so quickly that Lozina didn't even get the chance to ask why. She was just placed in a police van among other protesters and escorted away to the Cheryomushki police department, where they waited for information.
Despite Lozina's reassurance that the officers carried her gently to the van, it's still a troubling image to look at. The fact that citizens can be arrested in Russia because the government claims that the protest are unauthorized is a scary reality for some people. The image, which was captured by Maxim Shipenkov of EPA, should remind us of what governments are capable of, and that our right to protest in America should not be taken for granted.