Monday, April 03, 2017

RUSSIA - The Young

"Why young Russians are mobilizing against corruption" PBS NewsHour 3/27/2017


SUMMARY:  Widespread protests broke out across Russia on Sunday to denounce government corruption, the biggest show of defiance against President Vladimir Putin in years.  Hundreds of protesters were arrested in Moscow and elsewhere.  Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports, then Judy Woodruff talks with journalist and author Masha Gessen about the protests and Putin.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Widespread protests broke out in cities across Russia's 11 time zones yesterday to denounce government corruption.

Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner begins our coverage.

MARGARET WARNER (NewsHour):  The sentence for Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was handed down this morning in Moscow: 15 days in jail for resisting police.  He was also fined 20,000 rubles, about $350, for organizing yesterday's mass protests against alleged government corruption.

ALEXEI NAVALNY, Russian Opposition Leader (through interpreter):  I think yesterday's events have shown there is a large number of voters in Russia who support a candidate who speaks for the fight against corruption.  These people demand political representation.

MARGARET WARNER:  The demonstrations were the biggest show of defiance against President Vladimir Putin since 2012.  Tens of thousands rallied in 99 cities, from St. Petersburg and Moscow in the west, to Chita in Siberia, to the far Pacific coast port of Vladivostok.

Navalny generated the protests, in part, to demand the resignation of Prime Minister and former President Dmitry Medvedev.  Navalny released a video earlier this month showcasing myriad mansions, yachts and vineyards Medvedev allegedly has amassed.  Hundreds of protesters were arrested yesterday in Moscow and elsewhere.

Today, the European Union called for their release.  A Putin spokesman said: “The Kremlin respects people's civic stance and their right to voice their position.  We can't express the same respect to those who consciously misled people and provoked illegal actions.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said today:

SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary:  The United States will monitor the situation.  And we call on the government of Russia to immediately release all peaceful protesters.

MARGARET WARNER:  For his part, Navalny has announced plans to challenge Putin for president in 2018.  But his eligibility to do so is in question over previous criminal charges.

For the PBS NewsHour, I'm Margaret Warner.

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