Quantcast
Connect with us

Mass anti-Kremlin rallies grip Russia’s Far East

Published

on

Huge anti-government demonstrations erupted in Russia’s Far East on Saturday over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who never lived in the fraught region.

Residents of Khabarovsk near the border with China took to the streets en masse for the third Saturday in a row after governor Sergei Furgal was arrested by federal law enforcement and flown to Moscow on murder charges this month.

ADVERTISEMENT

The running demonstrations have been some of the largest anti-government protests in Russia in years, which the Kremlin said this week were being fueled by opposition activists outside Khabarovsk.

Tens of thousands of residents marched through Khabarovsk waving the region’s flag, carrying banners and chanting slogans against President Vladimir Putin as passing cars honked their horns in support.

“We want our governor to be released because we believe he was very likely detained illegally,” said 24-year-old protester Alina Slepova.

Furgal was removed by federal officials “for their own purposes, not for the good of our region,” she told AFP.

Demonstrators converged in front of the regional administrative building on Lenin square shouting “Freedom” and “Putin resign”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Police wearing masks allowed the demonstrations to go ahead despite a ban on public gatherings as part of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

– ‘Nothing in return’ –

The protests that erupted in response to the shock arrest of Furgal over murders that happened 15 years ago are increasingly becoming an outlet to vent frustration with the Kremlin.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The centre is sucking resources from the Far East,” said demonstrator Alexander Gogolev, 45, who voiced anger that the region receives “nothing in return”.

Estimates of the turnout varied greatly, with Khabarovsk officials saying that 6,500 people attended. Pro-opposition social media channels placed the number much higher at around 90,000.

ADVERTISEMENT

Authorities say at least 10,000 people took part in previous demonstrations on July 11 and July 18, though some local media and opposition figures put the figure at 35,000 to 50,000 people or more.

Journalists reporting from the town seven time zones east of Moscow said Saturday’s rally was the largest since the demonstrations began this month.

On Monday, Putin officially fired Furgal, 50, and appointed a lawmaker from the same nationalist LDPR party, Mikhail Degtyarev, as his acting replacement.

ADVERTISEMENT

The move was met with by anger from Khabarovsk residents who said the 39-year-old outsider lacked experience and had no connection to the region.

In a video posted to Instagram this week, Degtyarev dismissed calls for him to step down and said the mass demonstrations did not reflect broader public opinion.

– ‘Nutrient for troublemakers’ –

Ahead of the demonstrations on Friday he suggested that foreign citizens had flown from Moscow to Khabarovsk to help organise the protests.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed claims of foreign interference but said the protests were a “nutrient … for troublemakers” and “pseudo-opposition” activists.

Furgal’s detention ahead of a trial in September sparked an an outcry from his nationalist LDPR party whose firebrand leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky this week vowed to secure a presidential pardon if he is found guilty of the charges.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said Furgal was charged with ordering the murders and attempted murders of several businessmen in 2004 and 2005.

Critics say the case is politically motivated after Furgal was elected with a large majority in 2018 in an embarrassing defeat for a candidate of the ruling party backed by Putin.

ADVERTISEMENT

They have demanded that Furgal face the charges in Khabarovsk and question why investigators waited so long to accuse an official who should have undergone background checks.

 


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump buried in mockery for latest press briefing of ‘lies and nonsense’

Published

on

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump delivered his daily coronavirus press briefing, which ended with him on the defensive about a number of topics, from his claims children are nearly "immune" to coronavirus, to his insistence that the Beirut explosion was an attack, to his continued lies about mail-in voting.

His performance drew scorn from commenters on social media.

Trump purposely walked out of the briefing without letting @weijia ask a question!!

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

New York prosecutors issue ‘wide-ranging subpoena’ for Trump’s financial documents to Deutsche Bank

Published

on

New York prosecutors are showing they're serious about the look into President Donald Trump's finances out of concern for fraud.

The New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon that this is part of the year-long legal battle between Trump and the Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance.

A subpoena was previously issued for Trump's tax returns last year, but Trump fought it all the way to the Supreme Court, where he was told to comply with subpoenas and hand over the documents.

Continue Reading
 

COVID-19

Fauci expects tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccines ready in early 2021

Published

on

Drugmakers will likely have tens of millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine in the early part of next year, with production ramping up so that it hits a billion doses by the end of 2021, Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. government official on infectious diseases, said in a Reuters interview on Wednesday.

Fauci said he has not seen any pressure from the White House to announce a vaccine close to the Nov. 3 election in the hopes of boosting President Donald Trump's re-election chances.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image