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Kremlin Downplays Navalny Protests Where Thousands Were Detained

  • Jailed Putin critic sparks biggest demonstrations since 2018
  • Navalny returned to Russia Jan. 17 after surviving poisoning
Bloomberg business news
Watch: Daragh McDowell, principal Russia Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, discusses the protests in Russia demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny. (Source: Bloomberg)
Updated on

The Kremlin played down nationwide protests demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny -- Russia’s biggest since at least 2018 -- as Western governments condemned the detention of thousands of demonstrators.

Braving clashes with riot police, freezing temperatures and threats they could face charges of “mass disorder” for the unauthorized gatherings, tens of thousands turned out in dozens of cities across the world’s largest country on Saturday. Police detained at least 3,592 people, the OVD-Info monitoring group reported. The U.S. and the European Union urged they be freed.