On January 23, 2021, thousands of Russians took to the streets to join peaceful protests in support of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned for 30 days the previous week.
Alexei Navalny was arrested immediately upon his arrival at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport. He had travelled from Berlin, where he had been recovering in hospital for the last five months after being poisoned with a nerve agent on August 20, 2020.
Protests spanned over 100 cities, from Krasnodar to Siberia, resulting in mass arrests, police misconduct, abuse of power from law enforcement bodies, and a multitude of human rights violations. Over 4,000 citizens were reported to be detained by special forces, and several protesters were injured or abused by the officers during their arrests.
In light of these mass rallies, Russian authorities threatened to issue fines to several social media platforms for not deleting posts in support of the #FreeNavalny movement and the January 23 protests. Several high school students were brought to police stations and questioned about their published content.
According to the media, the events of January 23 in support of Navalny represented one of the largest demonstrations to have taken place over the last decade.
At Students For Liberty, we believe that peace and prosperity can flourish only in societies where freedom and individual responsibility are upheld. It is vital that governments respect the rule of law, due process, individual freedom, and civil liberties. Government agents are not exempt from or above the law, and should not infringe on the rights of those willing to express their dissent in a peaceful manner.
Students For Liberty joins the international call in support of the Russian civil rights movement and calls for the immediate release of Alexei Navalny and all activists who were detained during the peaceful protests in Russia.
We are certain that the voices of peace, love, and liberty will be heard. We ask you to support the #FreeNavalny movement by educating your friends and family about what is happening in Russia and spreading the message of liberty.
Students For Liberty will be hosting a discussion on the civil rights movement in Russia with Vera Kichanova, the first Russian libertarian elected to public office, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 18:00 PM CET on Instagram Live. To be notified when we go live, be sure to follow our account by clicking on the button below.