August 7, 2017
On June 12th, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Moscow chanting “Putin is a crook” and “Russia without Putin!” The protesters, predominantly 16-27 year olds, flooded Tverskaya Street, a main artery leading to Red Square, waving Russian flags and holding signs that read “Navalny 2018.” As a helicopter buzzed overhead, it didn’t take long for riot police to move in, batons drawn.
By the end of the day, there were more than 1,000 arrests across Russia. The protests were inspired by a 41-year-old lawyer turned anti-corruption crusader named Alexei Navalny. He has announced plans to challenge Vladimir Putin in Russia’s presidential election next March, but the Central Electoral Commission has suggested that an embezzlement conviction (which Navalny claims was politically prosecuted) may prevent him from running. Navalny hopes that by gathering enough support across the country, he can force the Kremlin to allow him to run.
“CBSN: On Assignment” spent a week with Alexei Navalny before the protests, in his Moscow office and on the campaign trail. “It’s not about playing [a] game,” Navalny told correspondent Ryan Chilcote. “It’s not saying something or making rallies. We are really making this political work to win and without any doubts this corrupt regime will be crushed and another man will become president of Russia.”
(N.B. Alexei Navalny is a lawyer and opposition leader.)