News / Europe

Russian Opposition Leaders Detained at Anti-Putin Rally

Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov waves to the media before entering the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov waves to the media before entering the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
x
Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov waves to the media before entering the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov waves to the media before entering the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.
— Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in central Moscow to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin. At least 30 people, including prominent opposition leaders, have been arrested.

As a police helicopter flew above, protesters rallied Saturday in front of Russia’s headquarters for the Federal Security Service, formerly known as the KGB. The demonstration was not sanctioned by Moscow authorities and those who participated or organized the rally faced large fines and arrest. Officials say the fines are meant to protect the security of the average Russian.

Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, who was arrested during the event, says it is absurd that people can not express their opinions in Russia.

He says we wanted to hold a peaceful freedom march today within the framework of the law. But he goes on to say that the authorities banned the march for no reason whatsoever. He says the government is afraid of its citizens.

Russians began protesting in December 2011 in the largest demonstrations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The rallies began after ruling party United Russia won the country’s parliamentary elections.
Demonstrators claim the party won by ballot stuffing and vote rigging, charges it denies.

Since then, demonstrators have continued to rally against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprecedented third term. Protesters say he runs the country through a tightly controlled political system and corruption. The Kremlin denies the accusations.

Since Putin has been in office, Russia has seen a major crackdown on dissent.  Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, a major organizer of the anti-Kremlin protests who was also arrested Saturday, had been previously charged with fraud for allegedly stealing millions of dollars in timber and now faces another investigation for fraud. He says the charges against him are politically motivated. Moscow denies the claim.  Navalny faces up to 10 years in prison.

Additionally, the fines for participating in and organizing unsanctioned demonstrations against the Kremlin have increased more than 150-fold, that is more than the average annual salary of a Russian.

Tamara, a Muscovite in her 20s who did not want to use her last name, said she almost did not come to the rally because she was afraid of the fines.

She says I think a lot of people did not show up because they are afraid of the fines. I am afraid too it would take me months of work to pay the fine off.

In addition to Udaltsov and Navalny, other prominent opposition leaders were detained Saturday including  Ilya Yashin and TV personality Ksenia Sobchak.

Despite this, opposition leaders say they will continue to protest.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid