The first demonstrations were held in the easternmost parts of the country. In Vladivostok on the Pacific coast, about a hundred people were arrested, according to the organization OVD-Info.
The demonstrations have spread to several cities.
OVD-info writes that over 2200 people have been arrested in connection with the protests around Russia, Sunday.
Reuters also writes that the Russian police have arrested Yulia Navalnyja, Navalny’s own wife, in Moscow. She was also arrested in connection with a demonstration last week.
Alexei Navalny and his allies hope for the largest possible turnout over large parts of Russia.
– Nobody wants to live in a country where arbitrariness and corruption prevail. We have the majority on our side, Navalny wrote a few days ago in a message from the cell where he is imprisoned.
He called for new nationwide demonstrations and asked people not to be afraid.
Hundreds of thousands participated
In Moscow on Sunday, protests are planned outside the headquarters of the security service FSB, which is accused of being behind the poisoning of Navalny last year. Russian authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations.
Moscow police are referring to corona rules and have announced extensive restrictions on freedom of movement on Sunday. Seven metro stations in the Russian capital are closed.
Last weekend, people marched in the streets of a number of cities across large parts of Russia demanding the release of Navalny. Tens of thousands participated, according to several media outlets. The organizers themselves believe 300,000 showed up.
Large and small protests were held in over a hundred different cities. This is unusual in Russia, where it is mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg that the opposition has previously managed to gather for large demonstrations.
– For the first time, we have seen that people have turned up in large numbers, not for a local cause, but for a national agenda, says sociologist Alexei Levinson in the analysis company Levada-Center.
The Russian government has branded the participants in the demonstrations as criminals and the organizers as terrorists.
More than 4,000 people are said to have been arrested during the protests last weekend. The demonstrations were not approved by the authorities, who among other things thought the participants could help spread corona infection.
Russian police took action on Wednesday against several apartments owned by Navalny or used by his anti-corruption foundation FBK. Navalny’s brother Oleg, his close ally Lyubov Sobol and several other supporters were arrested.
Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok and several other social media have been notified that they will be fined by the Russian Media Authority. The reason is that they did not do enough to remove invitations to minors to participate in the demonstrations last weekend.
– Violated the duty to report
For Navalny himself, there is a new court hearing on Tuesday. During the trial, it must be decided whether a previously conditional sentence is to be commuted to imprisonment.
Russian police arrested Navalny as he returned to his home country on January 17. The prosecution believes he has not complied with the conditions in a conditional judgment from 2014 on money laundering.
Actually, he should have reported to the authorities on a regular basis, but this was difficult during the period when he was in Germany and was treated for poisoning.
Russian authorities have also accused Navalny of acting on behalf of Western countries that are allegedly interfering in Russia’s internal affairs.
Analyst Tatjana Stanovaja believes the Russian government realizes that there is dissatisfaction in the country, among other things in the wake of an unpopular pension reform in 2018. But the government also claims that Western intelligence services are fueling the protests.
– Lies down on a tougher line
– This combination can help the authorities take a tougher line. I think we already see that, says Stanovaja to the news agency AP.
Russia itself has been accused of covert attempts to influence political developments in other countries in recent years. Not least in the United States, where a number of intelligence agencies have stated that Russia tried to help Donald Trump in the election campaign in 2016. The Russian government has rejected the claim.
In Russia, 44-year-old Navalny is widely known for his fight against corruption. After he was arrested, his associates published a video that allegedly showed a palace on the Black Sea belonging to Vladimir Putin.
The video has been viewed over 100 million times, and Putin recently had to publicly deny that the property is his.