On Monday, the Russian authorities violently dispersed anti-corruption demonstrations held by opposition on the occasion of the Day of Russia. Cossacks helped the police detain and beat protesters.
On state-owned TV stations there was a perfect show of Cossacks, bikers, dancers and girls wearing kokoshniks. Vladimir Putin handed out state awards and spoke about the gloomy experience of the 90s.
But the mood of the protesters who took to the streets throughout Russia – from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad – was far from festive.
The authorities did not sanction anti-corruption demonstrations against organized by supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The head of the Russian Anti-Corruption Foundation, known for high-profile investigations into top officials’ crimes, called compatriots for peaceful protests.
“We will never accept the perfect scheme created by Putin and the Kremlin. Stealing billions and erecting own palaces, they want us to keep silence and be blind,” said Navalny.
The Russian police detained more than one thousand persons (in Moscow – 700), including Navalny. On June 13, he has been sentenced to 30 days in prison for ‘repeated violations of the regulations on holding rallies and disobeying police’.