- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
On Monday — Russia Day, a national holiday widely misunderstood in Russia itself — thousands took to the streets of over 160 cities across Russia. They were not there to mark Russia’s reaffirmed sovereign statehood (the actual raison d’être of the day), but to protest corruption.
Like the last wave of anti-corruption protests in March, young people — teenagers and schoolchildren — were notably present, as were rubber ducks, which have become a sign of anti-corruption protesters, a reference to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s house of ducks, exposed in a recent report on corruption.
Unlike those protests, which were directed against the prime minister, Monday’s demonstrations featured calls of “Putin is a thief,” “Russia without Putin,” and “Down with the tsar!”
The organizer of the protests was Alexei Navalny, a lawyer turned opposition activist turned presidential candidate. But Navalny was detained early in the day. On Twitter, Navalny’s wife, Yulia, encouraged Muscovites to go to the main thoroughfare of Tverskaya Street, blocked off with barricades ostensibly for historical reenactments for Russia Day, rather than going to officially sanctioned protest zones.
— Meduza in English (@meduza_en) June 12, 2017
Hundreds were arrested by police across the country, including a score in distant Vladivostok. In St. Petersburg, the number was 300, including teenagers.
Several teenage girls arrested in Petersburg just in the last few minutes pic.twitter.com/VBy0h0RkBK
— max seddon (@maxseddon) June 12, 2017
If Russia Day is widely misunderstood, this particular version had a theme: Russians continue to protest against corruption, and for Russia.
Kids have taken over the roof of one if the medieval re-enactors' huts pic.twitter.com/36fu3sc8f2
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) June 12, 2017
Photo credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images