#RussiaProtests: Round Two

Navalny’s anti-corruption protests sweep the country…again

Images of the protests as reported by opposition supporters in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ufa, and the Murmansk region. (Source: Twitter)

On June 12, Russians took their grievances to the streets again in a wave of protests organized by Aleksey Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation. June 12 is a national holiday known as Russia Day.

The anti-corruption protests took place in 187 cities spanning across nine time zones. All, except for ten, had permissions from their local municipalities.

The two hashtags used during the protests were #димонответит (Dimon, i.e. Dmitry Medvedev, will answer) and #требуемответов (We demand answers). Both of these hashtags refer to Aleksey Navalny’s documentary “Don’t call him Dimon”, which accused former president and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of a web of corruption totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. This was the second wave of anti-corruption protests; the first took place on March 26 and was also documented by the @DFRLab.

This time around, however, there were more protests — with 187 compared to 100 protests in March.

The interactive map collects live streams from the protests and public events on VK from over a hundred cities in Russia.

Arrests

OVD-Info, a monitoring group, reported arrests of demonstrators in the following locations as the protests spread across Russia. The figures are likely to be incomplete but give an indication of the scale and spread of the demonstrations across the country.

— In Vladivostok, at least 11 protesters were detained, including one allegedly held for holding a folded poster, and a council member detained on his way to the protest

— Four activists were detained in Blagoveshchensk

— One person was detained in Abakan

— Five people, including one organizer of the protest, were detained in Kazan

— 10 protesters were detained in Norilsk

— 24 protesters were detained in Sochi, one of them is a correspondent for Radio Liberty

— Two people were detained in Tula

— Three people were detained in Lipetsk

— One person was detained in Nizhny Tagil

— In Tambov, Vladimir Zhilkin, a coordinator at Open Russia was detained with his wife, Natalia Zhilkina

— 36 protesters were detained at an unsanctioned protest in Kaliningrad

By midnight Moscow time, OVD-Info reported that 825 protestors had been detained in Moscow, and listed their names. The BBC cited the Russian Interior Ministry as saying that some 500 people had been detained in St. Petersburg.

Arrests reported on social media

Navalny

The organizer of the protests, Alexey Navalny, was arrested before the protest in Moscow even began. His wife tweeted: “Hello, it’s Yuliya Navalnaya. Happy holidays! Aleksey was detained in his apartment building, he wanted me to tell you, the plan does not change: Tverskaya.” Tverskaya Street was the location in Moscow chosen for the demonstration.

Several hours later, Navalny’s twitter account also tweeted an image of him getting arrested, with the caption, “Happy Russia Day.”

Moscow

Social media users referred to police forces and OMON, the Russian riot police, in Moscow and St. Petersburg as astronauts:

Many well-known activists were arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including Ilya Yashin. He tweeted a selfie from the police van where he was being held with other detainees.

Blagoveshchensk

Navalny’s team in Blagoveshchensk reported some of the earliest detentions of protesters.

Later, a Youtube user named Интересное (literally, “Interesting”) posted a video showing local police detaining a peaceful protester while the crowd shouted, “Shame!”

Vladivostok

Clashes occurred between pro-government militia, referred to as the Cossacks, and people documenting the rally in Vladivostok.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=httGE2jwwI8

User Alexey Khristos posted on VK, a social media platform especially popular for Russian language speakers, that he was detained.

The comment reads, “Lads, theyt detained me, but don’t you give up!” (Source: VK user Alexey Khristos)

Later on Youtube, Khristos posted a video showing local police forces arresting protesters.

Kaliningrad

Detentions were also documented by activists in Kaliningrad. A video showing police lifting a prone activist was posted on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lvm5IuNowwE

The same account posted a video showing a crowd shouting “Shame! Shame!”, while a dozen policemen detained an activist identified on video as Oleg Vodyanitsky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qev2VGuQDNg

Posters and symbols

The posters protesters brought along were telling, and similar to posters during the protests in March. One read, “Sell your summer houses, build roads.”

Another pictured the Russian constitution and read, “She died for your sins.”

https://twitter.com/Enuriru/status/874191538699546624

One sign mimicked a popular credit card advert.

Another notable feature of the protest posters was the widespread usage of the Zhdun meme, which is very popular in Russia and often used to symbolize long waiting. Posters featuring Zhdun referred to the government’s perceived lack of answers when it comes to independent investigations and revelations of large-scale corruption. One such poster said, “I’m waiting for an explanation.”

Rubber duckies and sneakers continued to be an important symbol in the protest movement, which the @DFRLab has reported on.


For more in-depth analysis from our #DigitalSherlocks follow @DFRLab.