Good reporting by Howard Amos, a Moscow-based freelancer, and Jim Heintz of Associated Press. Russians are taking to the streets under anti-corruption slogans, and not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg:
Navalny and his Foundation for Fighting Corruption had called for the protests, which attracted crowds of hundreds or thousands in most sizeable Russian cities, from the Far East port of Vladivostok to the European heartland. The protests were the largest coordinated outpourings of dissatisfaction in Russia since the massive 2011-12 demonstrations that followed a fraud-tainted parliamentary election.
Navalny (predictably detained today) has expected marches and gatherings in more than eighty cities and towns. In twenty-something of these, local authorities have OK’d the protests; elsewhere, people have turned out knowing they could be detained for taking part in “illegal” demonstrations.
In Moscow, the city permitted a gathering in Sokolniki, northwest of the city center, but Navalny’s team insisted on Tverskaya, the high street running northwesterly from the Kremlin past the famous statues of Pushkin and Mayakovsky.
Today’s crowds across Russia may have outsized the largest of the 2011-12 rallies, although it’s too early to tell. That and the unprecedented number of locations – from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad – are quite a surprise to me. I thought the anti-corruption drive had lost steam somewhat.
Tomorrow, about ten thousand long-haul drivers are planning on a nationwide strike against the road toll system called, inexplicably, Platòn, i.e., Plato. For more local color, I suggest The Russian Reader‘s translations. I tend to disagree with their politics but their translations are indispensable.