Russia, Repeating History

Russians+gather+in+St.+Petersbuerg+to+protest+the+jailing+of+Alexi+Navalny.

Dimitri Lovetsky

Russians gather in St. Petersbuerg to protest the jailing of Alexi Navalny.

Hayden Kolarik, Reporter

¨Mr.Gorbachev, tear down this wall.¨ These are Ronald Reagan’s powerful line at his speech in West Germany at the height of the cold war, words targeted at a symbol of division and tyranny that divided a nation and split families apart. Mr. Gorbachev the leader of the USSR at the time did not tear down the wall but instead the people of Germany took matters into their own hands and reunited to form one Germany whole again.

History often repeats itself and we can see that with what is happening in Russia today. However, they are not trying to tear down a physical wall but instead, a wall put up against free speech and freedom of the press. Like the people of East Germany, they are under strict supervision and constant surveillance, facing more control on information and ideas. However, the people are fighting back.

Alexei Navalny is a Russian opposition leader who, after leaving a Berlin hospital, after being poisoned, returned to Russia and went straight into the custody of the Russian police. Navalny has been sentenced to two years and eight months for violating his prohibition for a case in 2014 where he was charged for embezzlement.

The people of Russia are not happy with Navalny being jailed and as of 2/5/21 more than 5,500 people have been detained during the nationwide protests. Protests reached from Siberia all the way to Moscow. During the protests in Moscow, heavily outfitted police were blocking off streets and cut off the subway, and shut down bus routes to the Kremlin and the FSB. The FSB headquarters was a prime location for protestors due to them being prime suspects in the poisoning of Navalny

More than 1,600 people have been arrested in Moscow alone. Navalny’s wife, Yulia was one of the people arrested during a massive demonstration. However, Yulia was later released and showed up at Navalny´s trial where he made a heart sign to her from behind a glass box. A gesture that warmed many hearts and showed Navalny’s continuing love for his fellow countrymen and wife.

Even people who simply tweeted about the protests were detained and sentenced. One of those people was Anna Vellikok who, after retweeting a documentary her husband posted, was held for 14 days. Navalny’s brother, Oleg, and Kira Navalny’s spokeswoman were also jailed both for supposedly violating the Coronavirus laws Russia put in place. These are charges that they are currently disputing due to it having little evidence.

Russian protests show no sign of stopping despite many being arrested and an extreme police force being present. Navalny continues to give hope to everyone that hears his name and despite being detained still manages to inspire his followers. This truly is a turning point in Russian politics and the world as a whole. We will have to wait and see if history repeats itself once again.

 

 

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