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Russian opposition party plans for mass protests across the country

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Russian opposition party plans for mass protests across the country

CEC bars Alexei Navalny from running for Russian presidency
Photo: Evgeny Feldman/EPA

A court order requiring Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to be detained for 30 days after his return to Russia has led him to call for mass protests.

Navalny returned to Russia last Sunday after spending months in Germany recovering from an August poisoning attempt. Upon arrival, Navalny was immediately detained on parole violation under a prior charge. A snap hearing was held on Monday in which the court ordered Navalny to remain detained for 30 days. Navalny and his lawyers had no prior warning of the hearing, which they say is trumped up. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation has planned mass protests across the country today to contest the prosecution.

The 30-day detention will see Navalny held in custody until a Feb 2 hearing. The requested hearing will attempt to overturn a suspended three-and-a-half-year jail sentence. Russian President Vladimir Putin has an overwhelming interest in silencing Navalny, who on Tuesday released a years-long investigation report into Putin’s wealth and corruption. Using the protests as leverage, Navalny could avoid serious jail time. However, a Moscow interested in silencing its opposition may use COVID-19 restrictions to stymie mass protests.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky in Berlin after signing a 10-year bilateral security agreement. In the background from left to right: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, German Foreign Minister Analena Baerbock and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. Source: EPA-EFE/Clemens Bilan

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