Russian police arrested thousands over the weekend as they tried to shut down protests in at least 66 cities across seven time zones, and more demonstrations will come next weekend. What will it take for autocrat Vladimir Putin to realize that arresting Alexei Navalny was a mistake?
The Kremlin has tried to assassinate Navalny twice, most recently with a Soviet nerve agent, but the opposition leader just keeps coming back. Literally: He returned last week from Berlin, where he’d been recovering from the near-fatal poisoning — only to have his plane redirected to an airport 25 miles from its destination so that police could arrest him far from the supporters who’d gathered to greet him.
He’s been detained for 30 days pending a hearing on old trumped-up charges that could send him to a penal colony for years.
But Navalny has already recorded one of his would-be assassins spilling the beans about the poisoning attempt, and also leaked evidence about Putin’s apparent love-child. His team on Tuesday also released a fresh report on Putinite corruption that has more than 70 million views on YouTube.
Most important, his supporters won’t give up. By one estimate, 35,000 showed up to protest in Moscow, with more crowds all the way to Vladivostock. Meanwhile, Navalny preemptively warned, “I don’t plan to either hang myself on a window grill or cut my veins or throat open with a sharpened spoon.”
Putin has a tiger by tail.