Thousands of anti-government demonstrations broke out on Monday in Russia as critics of President Vladimir Putin took to the streets to protest his policies and the economic stagnation of the country of the past several years
Although Putin has enjoyed high approval ratings during his second presidential term, significant discontent remains about his rule, which is not discussed much in the Russian media; many media outlets are directly owned by the government or people connected to Putin.
According to social media and press reports, Aleksei Navalny, a politician who heads the Progress Party and who had organized an earlier day protest against Putin in March, was arrested as he left his home to head to a demonstration in Moscow.
The Moscow protest is one of more than 200 that have taken place in various cities across the nation. In Twitter posts from the events, demonstrators have been quoted as saying, “Russia without Putin!” Hundreds of people have been arrested.
June 12 is known as Russia Day within the world’s largest country and is traditionally a celebration of various achievements of the nation throughout history, particularly those of a military nature.
Anti-Putin demonstrators have been featuring rubber ducks in their protest signage for some time after Navalny revealed in March that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had constructed a house for ducks on his personal estate. This appears to be one of many outrageous benefits the Putin crony has accrued during his administration.
Demonstrators have targeted Putin for a variety of grievances, including the government’s crackdown against LGBT rights advocates as well as corruption and inside dealing. Protesters also complaining that the government has been spending inadequate amounts on infrastructure such as roads.
According to The New York Times, Navalny had accused the municipal Moscow government of forbidding audio equipment rental companies to provide sound equipment to demonstrators. Navalny was also arrested in connection with the March 29 protest and held in jail for 15 days before being released.