Opposition Leader Arrested
Throughout the past month, citizens of Russia have been in an uproar due to the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny's. He has been challenging Russian President Putin's authority for a while now and it looks like he may have finally gone too far.
In August, Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve poisoning agent, and was sent to Germany to recover. There is evidence that it was Russia's security agency that poisoned him. When Navalny returned to Russia in January after recovering from the poisoning, he was immediately arrested by the Russian authorities on the charges of violating his parole due to an alleged embezzlement charge.
His sudden arrest caused an outburst of protests from Moscow to St. Petersburg as civilians are tired of Putin's 21-year reign and had hoped that Navalny might bring change. Navalny is well known for his Youtube channel, which reveals Putin's corruption, while he claims to be fighting for government democracy and transparency. Although, he does still display some nationalist tendencies, for example, his support of Russia's annexation of Crimea back in 2018.
Two weeks after Navalny's arrest, the court ruled that he would be sentenced to a 2.5-year prison sentence in a penal colony. This caused significant protests that were brutally shut down by the Russian authorities. The Kremlin classified the demonstrations as a "wave of aggression," and so showed zero toleration for dissent, which led to thousands of arrests and significant bloodshed.
The massive crackdown on civil liberties is causing President Putin to lose even more legitimacy, while support for Navalny and his sphere of influence continues to grow. Parliamentary elections are coming up, and it will come as no surprise if Putin's political party, United Russia, loses a significant amount of representation.
The United States is not ignoring the cries of Navalny and the people of Russia. Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanded that Navalny and the protestors' be released. Making a display that the US will not permit Putin's oppressive behavior to continue. Victims of Communism throughout the developed world have commended Navalny and support America's stance on the issue.
Hopefully, the increasing opposition to Putin and the Russian people's support of Navalny will help restore political freedom to the country.