Massive opposition protests challenge Putin

first_img Also On POLITICO From the archive Alexei Navalny, Russian dissident in winter By Francesca Ebel US foreign office condemns Russian crackdown on protests By Rebecca Morin Anti-Putin opposition leader Alexei Navalny, protesters detained at Moscow rally By Nicholas Vinocur “We want the downsides of the Kremlin not letting Navalny stand in the election to grow higher than the downsides of allowing him to run,” Leonid Volkov, his campaign manager, told POLITICO. “This will happen when everyone recognizes that keeping him off the ballot is a sign of weakness by Putin.”A video watched by millionsMore than 13 million people have so far watched an online video in which Navalny alleges that Medvedev funneled funds from charities and NGOs into mansions and luxury yachts. The Kremlin has refused to comment on the claims.This week, lawmakers from Russia’s Communist Party, the second largest party in parliament, asked for a parliamentary investigation into the allegations, in a move that raised eyebrows in Russia’s carefully-managed political system.While Putin’s popularity remains high, almost three years of economic decline have plunged millions into poverty and the Kremlin is sensitive to allegations of high-level corruption. As many as 41 percent of Russians are struggling to feed themselves, according to a recent poll from the Moscow Higher School of Economics.“Navalny is pressuring and will continue to pressure the Kremlin, but he is unpredictable and his participation in the election would make the campaign very difficult for Putin,” Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin advisor who is now critical of Putin, told POLITICO. “The Kremlin will want to keep him off the ballot.”This article was updated with new figures for the number of people arrested in Moscow. A bid from the oppositionNavalny’s presidential bid looked to have been derailed last month when he was convicted on fraud charges he said were revenge for his opposition to Putin and handed a five-year suspended sentence.Under Russian law, anyone under criminal conviction is barred from running for public office. Navalny, a liberal politician with a foot also in the nationalist camp, says the constitution stipulates that only people serving jail time are banned from standing in elections. In an audacious attempt to force himself onto the ballot, he has recently begun opening election campaign offices across Russia.“I represent the interests of millions of people who want to see real change in Russia,” he told hundreds of campaign volunteers in Tomsk, a university town in west Siberia, this month. “I demand my right to participate in this election.”Navalny and his supporters have faced mounting pressure as they take their message of dissent to Russia’s heartland: The opposition leader was twice assaulted by pro-Kremlin activists last week, while campaign volunteers have had their apartments and cars vandalized. In Barnaul, in south Siberia, Navalny was sprayed with a green dye, while in Volgograd, in Russia’s south, he was attacked by people who claimed to be Cossacks. He escaped uninjured.Despite the threats and intimidation, Navalny plans to open more than 80 campaign offices in the coming months. His campaign team says it has registered over 40,000 volunteers and raised 26 million rubles (€422,000) in public donations in just three months.While Putin’s popularity remains high, almost three years of economic decline have plunged millions into poverty. “In any normal European country, allegations that the prime minister was involved in large-scale corruption would result in an investigation,” said Pavel Troshin, a 20-year-old student, shortly before dozens of police officers in body armor began the first of several attempts to clear the square. “But in Russia, there is absolutely zero reaction from the authorities.”‘Russia without Putin’The size of the Moscow rally was hard to estimate but police, who traditionally significantly downplay attendance at opposition protests, said 7,000 people had turned out. The real figure may have been much higher. The protests were the first time that Russia’s National Guard, a new security force formed last year to quash mass dissent, was called into action. Protesters later marched toward Red Square, where they chanted “Russia without Putin!”The scale of Sunday’s protests and the fact that opposition supporters defied the authorities’ ban on demonstrations will cause concern in the Kremlin.Protesters in Moscow included thousands of young people who have lived their entire lives under Putin. “Young people are more in tune with the situation in our country,” said Yekaterina, 17. “We get our information from the internet, while most adults just watch state TV.” It was a sentiment echoed by Vladimir, 37. “Young people still have faith that Russia can be a normal country,” he said. “But most adults lost hope long ago and are resigned to corruption.” Both declined to give their surnames for fear of reprisal.Protests also took place in Russia’s far east, Siberia, the Urals region, the Black Sea coast and the far north of the country. In Vladivostok, a Pacific Ocean port city, police made dozens of arrests. More than 5,000 people defied police warnings to attend a protest in St Petersburg. Police said 130 people were arrested in that city.Navalny leading the protest, prior to his arrest | Evgeny Feldman for Navalny campaign/EPAThe scale of Sunday’s protests and the fact that opposition supporters defied the authorities’ ban on demonstrations will cause concern in the Kremlin ahead of next year’s presidential election. Putin has not formally announced he will run, but high-level leaks to Russian media suggest he will seek a fourth term in office that would take him to 2024 — and a quarter of a century in power. Only Joseph Stalin ruled Russia for longer. MOSCOW — Russian police detained Alexei Navalny, the Kremlin critic who wants to take on Vladimir Putin in next year’s presidential elections, during the largest nationwide protests for more than five years.Sunday’s opposition rallies, which had been called by Navalny over allegations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took over a $1 billion in bribes from state banks and wealthy businessmen, took place in more than 80 towns and cities across Russia, as furious protesters defied police bans on unsanctioned political gatherings.More than 850 people were detained in Moscow, according to rights activists, including Navalny’s entire anti-corruption organization, and 130 in St. Petersburg. Protesters filled a square just a short walk from the Kremlin, plastering a statue of Alexander Pushkin, the country’s 19th-century national poet, with anti-government stickers and signs. “Put Medvedev on trial!” read one sign. Clashes broke out between protesters and riot police after Navalny, a 40-year-old anti-corruption lawyer, was arrested near the square.last_img read more

Cleveland EMT Battles for His Own Life

first_imgEMT James Taylor has been on the job for so long, it’s hard for him to walk down a Cleveland street without bumping into someone he once rescued. CLEVELAND — He spent more than three decades saving lives. Now a member of Cleveland’s first Emergency Medical Technician class is fighting for his own life. 62-year-old James Taylor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July.center_img While even in treatment for pancreatic cancer last week at University Hospitals, he shared a room with a man he twice transported to the hospital for respiratory distress.Read More, Cleveland EMT fights for his lifelast_img read more

Sage Karam: Dario Franchitti supported Iowa moves

first_imgDespite criticism from Ed Carpenter, Sage Karam (right) said Dario Franchitti thought he did a good job racing at Iowa Speedway.Despite criticism from Ed Carpenter, Sage Karam (right) said Dario Franchitti thought he did a good job racing at Iowa Speedway. Dario Franchitti (left) and Sage Karam in the pits after practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 16, 2015.Dario Franchitti (left) and Sage Karam in the pits after practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 16, 2015.IndyCar Series rookie Sage Karam, who got caught in Ed Carpenter’s crosshairs late in last weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway, said he received the support of a person who matters to him: Dario Franchitti.Franchitti is coaching Karam’s first season at Ganassi Racing, and Karam said the four-time series champion gave him the thumbs up following the close duel with Carpenter, who accused Karam of dangerous driving after it appeared Karam twice squeezed him against the outside wall on the front straightaway.“Dario gives me the hardest time more than anybody in the paddock,” Karam said on WFNI (1070-AM)’s “Trackside” radio show. “If I do something wrong, he’s going to tell me, and after Iowa he was very pleased. He said I did nothing wrong, so I take that as I did nothing wrong.Cavin: New IndyCar rule makes series look silly“After Detroit, Dario was the first person to tell me I was driving like an idiot. He’ll tell me if I’m doing something wrong, and he won’t be scared to do it. There’s only been a few times when I’ve pleased him, and Iowa was one of them.”Franchitti has not publicly commented on the Iowa incident, and Karam did not receive a penalty, much less a warning, for his driving.However, Karam said race officials told him after the race that he was “cutting it a little close” given the five-race probation period he was placed under after avoidable contact with Jack Hawksworth in Detroit. Iowa was the fifth race in that sanction.Follow Curt Cavin on Facebook and Twitter: @curtcavinMiles on new IndyCar rule: ‘This is not a gag order’last_img read more

Luis Suarez has terminated negotiations with all clubs – Football World…

first_imgBarcelona’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez has cut off contact with all clubs that are interested in him. The reason for this decision is that the footballer still has a valid contract with the Catalan club.Suarez has informed his manager to reject any calls from different teams. Interest in the striker is not small, as Inter, Juventus, Leicester, Inter Miami and others are closely monitoring his situation in Barcelona.A few days ago, Suarez was informed by the new coach of the team Ronald Koeman that he does not fall into his plans for the new season.However, the Uruguayan is expected to appear in the first training session with Barça for the new season on Monday. Follow us anywhere and anytime with the mobile application of Gong.bg. You can download it from Google Play, App Store and AppGallery.last_img read more