In Khabarovsk, eastern Russia, people have been taking to the streets for weeks, and there have never been so many demonstrators as on Saturday. So far, Putin’s police force has been holding back.
Tens of thousands of people third Saturday in a row demonstrated in the far east of Russia for the detained ex-Governor of Khabarovsk. Despite a ban on demonstrations, more people took to the streets than on Saturday a week ago, as a correspondent from the radio station Echo Moskwy reported. The protests were also directed against Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
The authorities stated that the number of demonstrators was around 6,500, while Russian opposition figures spoke of up to 100,000 people. Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny criticized that Putin and state television continued to paint an “ideal world” – and ignored the protests. Nawalny’s staff released videos of the rally.
Demonstrators called for public trial
In the city around 6,000 kilometers east of Moscow, as in previous days, many people wore banners with portraits of the ex-governor Sergei Furgal. Putin officially released him on Monday. “Furgal is our choice!” Chanted the demonstrators. Furgal is in pre-trial detention on charges of ordering several murders of entrepreneurs. Investigators speak of overwhelming evidence.
The demonstrators called for a public trial. Banners read: “Governor of the People” and “Give us Furgal back!” The 50-year-old had won the election against the candidate of the Kremlin Party United Russia in 2018, to the annoyance of the center of power in Moscow. Furgal was arrested in Khabarovsk on July 10 and flown to Moscow, where he has been in custody since then.
Putin appoints new governor – protests continue
It was day 15 of the protests, which are also directed against political patronage from Moscow. President Putin temporarily appointed MEP Mikhail Degtyaryov as governor. The 39-year-old belongs to the same party as Furgal – the so-called Liberal Democratic Party of Russia of the ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Degtjarjow had recently filled leadership positions in the regional government, but refused to talk to the demonstrators.
The region does not come to rest even after the change of governor. The police again did not take action against the protesters. Demonstrations also took place in numerous other cities. In the capital Moscow, on the other hand, even the smallest protests are immediately ended by uniformed people.