Russian opposition leader’s arrest sparks wave of national protests
Symbols used by protesters reflect the realities of the country
Blue panties and toilet brushes, volleys of snowballs and snow graffiti – participants in the protest movement unfolding in Russia in support of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny are showing creativity.
Where did the unusual memes and symbols of new anti-government protests come from??
Since December, Russian demonstrators have hung blue underpants on street signs, posted photos of them posing only in blue underwear, and brought it to protests to show how – in his own words – the most opposition figure in Russia was poisoned.
Navalny, who was attacked by the Novichok nerve agent in August, said FSB agents had toxinized his blue underwear..
When President Vladimir Putin made a ritual dive into an ice-hole while wearing blue swimming trunks on Epiphany, Navalny’s supporters joked that Putin was sporting his main opponent in his underwear..
After spending five months in Germany and undergoing treatment after the poisoning, Navalny returned to Russia this month and was immediately detained..
The 44-year-old anti-corruption fighter has called for mass rallies, spurring protests by publishing an investigation into luxury real estate on the Black Sea coast allegedly owned by Putin.
The investigation claimed that the complex, which Navalny estimates is worth more than $ 1.35 billion, has everything from an underground ice rink to a casino..
But what caught the eye of the Russian opposition was the declared cost of the elite toilet brush: € 700.
Several demonstrators came to the new protests with these brushes, which, apparently, were much cheaper..
At demonstrations in Moscow, participants threw snowballs at riot police officers and even a car allegedly belonging to the FSB.
They also wrote their demands, including “Freedom to Navalny,” on a snow-covered wall. One of the videos shows a police officer immediately erases the inscription.
The protesters reportedly smashed the window of the said FSB car, and TASS reported that the snowballs caused the driver to injure his eye..
Since then, investigators have opened 21 criminal cases in connection with the protests, including on suspicion of using violence against law enforcement officials.
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