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Russia

Demonstrators in Russia are demanding an end to the policy of arbitrarily imprisoning opposition politicians. Tens of thousands of people from a myriad of opposition parties have demonstrated in Moscow, demanding an end to the crackdown on political dissent in Russia. Activists at the anti-government protests have been diverse, with individuals from a wide-ranging array of political organizations attending. The most prominent groups have been liberals, libertarians, and students, in addition to dissenters from Chechnya. Protesters are required to obtain a permit from the Russian government in order to stage a demonstration, and police have previously detained activists for not having the requisite paperwork. Once detained, protesters are often subjected to long jail terms and political pressure to cease and desist. Demonstrators who are arrested at unsanctioned protests are charged with rioting, which allows prosecutors to proceed with a broad and indistinct criminal case. However, this has not had the impact that the Russian government envisioned, as it has not dissuaded people from holding rallies. To date, there have been over 860 protests across Russia this year, and that number will likely reach 2,000 by the end of 2019. In addition to arresting demonstrators, media organizations have been targeted by the Russian state for reporting on the events. The enigmatic leader of the Russian opposition, Alexei Navalny, has been the galvanizing force behind many of the protests. Although Navalny has been repeatedly accused with bogus crimes to discredit him, including a recent charge of money laundering, he maintains strong support in circles of Russian opposition.

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