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February 3, 2021

Mr Navalny was immediately jailed when he arrived back in Russia after receiving treatment in Germany for suspected state poisoning. Political activist Tim Montgomerie today tweeted: "I have such admiration for the protestors in Russia. It couldn’t be clearer that Putin is running an increasingly autocratic regime.

"It is time to further tighten the sanctions screw."

Scenes of brutality from the police are coming out of Russia today. The Co-Chair European Council on Foreign Relations Carl Bildt tweeted: "Things are turning very ugly in Russia." The tweet accompanied a video of a protestor being pinned to the pavement.

Other videos show riot police storming into protestors with baton charges. The confrontation between demonstrators and the authorities has intensified. Tens of thousands of protestors across Russia met riot police on Saturday in mass demonstrations that directly challenge Mr Putin's regime. Mr Navalny will be trialed on Tuesday, but his arrest has led to growing calls for Mr Putin to resign.

Today Russian police have cracked down and arrested over 250 anti-Putin protesters. The recent protests began in Vladivostock in the far east of Russia and spread across the country to Saint Petersburg in the west, across 11 time zones. President Vladimir Putin does not take well to direct open challenges to his authority, and Mr Navalny is now Mr Putin's most prominent opponent.

Mr Navalny's team has encouraged nationwide demonstrations especially outside Moscow's Federal Security Service, which Mr Navalny claims was directed his poisoning. Many protestors were arrested in Moscow today, where one demonstrator told a reporter from the Washington Post, "There is no future in this country under Putin". One student protestor told AFP: "The desire to live in a free country is stronger than the fear of being detained".

Protestors in Vladivostok took to the thick ice on the Amur River that runs through the city, they chanted, "Putin is a thief" and "Shame, shame, shame". The protestors were referring to a magnificent "Black Sea palace" that Navalny's team has revealed to be owned by Mr Putin. On Twitter, Mr Blinken said: "The US condemns the persistent use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists by Russian authorities for a second week straight.

"We renew our call for Russia to release those detained for exercising their human rights."

 

Source: Express News