Intimidation, arrests, requests to social networks not to spread appeals calling for today’s demonstrations in 65 Russian cities, in support of the Kremlin’s main adversary, Alexéi Navalni, a vast coercion device aimed at demobilizing citizens. The Russian Justice has even opened a criminal case against those who try to implicate minors in the protests.
This was announced yesterday by the spokesperson for the Instruction Committee (SK), Svetlana Petrenko, who warned that the judicial body has received demands from parents’ associations requesting the adoption of measures to prevent minors from being “used” for political purposes, since , being unauthorized acts, “could lead to violent actions dangerous to their physical integrity.”
And it is that from the social network Tik Tok, the most used by adolescents, is calling to participate in the mobilizations. Under threats of heavy fines, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has asked Tik Tok, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Vkontakte to silence calls to attend the demonstrations. He did it on Thursday and yesterday he insisted again. The spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, Andrei Ivanov, has also warned that those arrested in the “illegal” demonstrations this Saturday could be accused of “massive disturbances” and spend a good time in jail.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov has called Navalni and his team’s calls to support the protests “unacceptable”. In his words, “failure to comply with the law has consequences.” According to Peskov, “it is especially serious that they try to involve minors” in such events.
Meanwhile, in more than 20 regions of Russia those who try to organize protests are being detained, says the team of the opposition leader, some of whose members have also been arrested, such as Kira Yarmish, the Navalni spokeswoman, and Georgy Alburov. Yarmish has been sentenced to 9 days in minor prison while Alburov will have to spend 10 days in dungeons. Liubov Sóbol, another one of the collaborators of the opposition leader, will have to pay a fine of 250,000 rubles (about 2,800 euros) for the same “crime”, calling to go out today to demand the release of Navalni.
On Tuesday, the day after Navalni was sentenced to 30 days in pre-trial detention pending the courts to decide on various lawsuits filed against him, his organization, the Fund to Fight Corruption (FBK) posted a video on YouTube with an investigation related to a luxurious and spectacular palace on the shores of the Black Sea, supposedly belonging to President Vladimir Putin, which would have cost about 100,000 million rubles (about 1,120 million euros). The Attorney General’s Office has asked YouTube to remove the video, which already exceeds 40 million visits.
After five months in Germany, where he was sent in a coma after being poisoned in the Siberian city of Tomsk, last August, Navalni returned to Moscow last Sunday with his family. He was arrested just after passing passport control. According to one of his lawyers, the opposition leader has just had vision problems. During a telephone conversation with Putin yesterday, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has requested the immediate release of Navalni.