World

Russians Continue To Protest Corruption

| by Sheena Vasani

Russians continue to protest against corruption in what may be the country's largest demonstration in five years.

"Russia without Putin" and "Russia will be free!" read some of the signs thousands of demonstrators are carrying to protest state corruption, reports The Economist.

More than 80 Russian cities erupted in protests on March 26 after video released by Alexei Navalny revealed former President Dmitry Medvedev allegedly gained yachts, mansions and other luxury goods through corrupt means, reports The Telegraph.

Many, including Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, have been arrested since. 

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Despite this, some Russians remain determined to continue their defiance.

"[Young people are] tired of the impunity of officials and their children and relatives who can get away with anything," said protester and geologist Sergey Pravov, who was arrested, reports CNN.

Although crowd sizes have since dwindled, young demonstrators continue to show up. Many say they will not stop until they see results.

"Even if I’m arrested for 15 days, it’ll be a joy -- I’ll go on a diet," said Lena, a journalist and protester.

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In some ways, a few are even more determined to fight after Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Russia had a corruption problem.

"Corruption is indeed a serious problem for us," said Putin.

"This is relevant, and we are working on it, " he said, adding, "The only thing that I think is wrong is for certain political forces to try to use this in their own interests, for self-promotion in the political arena ahead of political events such as elections rather than to improve the situation."

Many countries are coming forward to comment on the protests.

"The United States strongly condemns the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters throughout Russia on Sunday," U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said. "The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution."

Others worldwide took to Twitter to express their support.

"We are with the brave people of Russia who are standing up to fascism," tweeted one American.

Not everyone was as enthusiastic about the protests, responding more cynically. 

"Russia is run by criminals," wrote one Voice of America reader. "Why should that be a surprise. Most countries are run by criminals. Even the US is now being run by criminals"

Some thought it wiser for people in the U.S. to stay silent about the protests to avoid accusations of interference.

"Everyone in Russia who protests Putin is American puppet - Russian gov," chimed in another. "Everyone in US who protested DNC problems is Russian puppet - US gov."

Sources: The EconomistThe Telegraph (2), CNN, Twitter, Voice of America / Photo credit: Bestalex/Wikimedia Commons

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