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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Putin Reminds Russians He Can Do Suppression

A record crackdown on protests in Moscow is a warning to voters tempted to protest their increasingly hopeless situation.

Hitting the streets.

Hitting the streets.

Photographer: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images.

July 27 saw a new post-Soviet era record set in Moscow: 1,373 people were taken into custody following a day of protests. Meanwhile, jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny suffered a strange “allergic reaction” after calling for the demonstrations. 

These developments were set in motion by something seemingly trivial: An election to Moscow’s city council. One of Russia’s weakest regional legislatures, it can’t even hold the capital’s mayor responsible for doing whatever he wants with the city budget.