Navalny’s anti-corruption protests sweep the country…again
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.
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.
— 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
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.
Привет. Это Юля Навальная. Всех с праздником. Алексея задержали в подъезде дома. Он просил передать, что планы не меняются: Тверская.
— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) June 12, 2017
Several hours later, Navalny’s twitter account also tweeted an image of him getting arrested, with the caption, “Happy Russia Day.”
Social media users referred to police forces and OMON, the Russian riot police, in Moscow and St. Petersburg as astronauts:
— N For Navalny (@nfornavalny) June 12, 2017
— Инесса Васильевна (@kukharishina) June 12, 2017
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.
У парней в нашем автозаке боевой настрой) Везут в отдел полиции pic.twitter.com/CYC2TmOpWw
— Илья Яшин (@IlyaYashin) June 12, 2017
Navalny’s team in Blagoveshchensk reported some of the earliest detentions of protesters.
Clashes occurred between pro-government militia, referred to as the Cossacks, and people documenting the rally in Vladivostok.
User Alexey Khristos posted on VK, a social media platform especially popular for Russian language speakers, that he was detained.
Later on Youtube, Khristos posted a video showing local police forces arresting protesters.
Detentions were also documented by activists in Kaliningrad. A video showing police lifting a prone activist was posted on Youtube.
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.
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.”
— Donara Barojan🕵️♀️ (@donara_barojan) June 12, 2017
Another pictured the Russian constitution and read, “She died for your sins.”
One sign mimicked a popular credit card advert.
— jedi jane (@janeKerzh) June 12, 2017
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.”
— Бердск онлайн (@berdskonline) June 12, 2017
— Danny (@DannyMartynenko) June 12, 2017
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.