Two stories highlight how the Russian President, Vladimir Putin ain’t got time for no democratic opposition in the upcoming Presidential elections. Rising opposition leader, Aleksei Navalny, has ben arrested in one protest and Russia attempted, and failed, to remove his YouTube channel. Just another day in Putintopia.
|Russian Police Try To Pull The Plug, But Navalny’s YouTube Protest Rolls On|
Aleksei Navalny’s followers came out in mass protests last March and June, the police were quick to pull the plug on the opposition leader’s most potent tool for spreading his message: his YouTube channel.
His activists hoped to use it to air rolling live coverage of their nationwide protests on Navalny Live, seeking to bypass an effective state media ban. But they were stopped in their tracks: police raided the studios, cut electricity, detained activists, and seized their equipment.
On January 28, however, as thousands of protesters countrywide heeded Navalny’s call to rally for an election boycott, the authorities appeared to fail to shut it down. What’s more, it was not for want of trying — police appeared to fail to locate the studio.
As protest coverage began early on January 28, Navalny activists were interspersing live coverage of the protests with news segments hosted by two activists and recorded in the offices of Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation in a business center in southeast Moscow.
|Read More at rferl.org|
Here’s the second story to complete this snapshot of the upcoming Presidential election in Russia:
|Russian Opposition Leader Arrested Amid Election Protests|
Protesters gathered across Russia on Sunday to support opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s call to boycott the March presidential election, and Navalny himself was arrested while walking to the Moscow demonstration.
Many of the crowds that turned out in generally frigid weather skewed sharply young, apparently reflecting growing discontent among Russians who have lived most or all of their lives under President Vladimir Putin, who came to power on New Year’s Eve 1999.
“As long as I’ve been alive, Putin has always been in. I’m tired of nothing being changed,” said 19-year-old Vlad Ivanov, one of about 1,500 protesters who assembled in St. Petersburg.
Navalny, Putin’s most prominent foe, organized the protests to urge a boycott of Russia’s March 18 presidential election, in which Putin is sure to win a fourth term. He was wrestled to the ground and forced into a police bus as he walked toward the demonstration on Moscow’s Pushkin Square.
The anti-corruption campaigner was denied permission to be a presidential candidate because of an embezzlement conviction in a case widely seen as politically motivated.
Late Sunday night, hours after police detained him, Navalny said on Twitter that he had been released before a trial. Russian news reports cited police earlier as saying he was likely to be charged with a public-order violation for calling unauthorized demonstrations.
|Read More at US News|