Russian Opposition Leader And Activists Detained Ahead Of Putin Inauguration

Russian riot police detain Alexei Navalny at this morning's protests

Russian riot police detain Alexei Navalny at this morning's protests

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns the brutal attacks of the Kremlin regime's punitive units against Russian citizens who have taken to the streets to stage "He's not our tsar" peaceful protest rallies that rolled across Russia ahead of Vladimir Putin's inauguration.

Thousands of people on Saturday marked President Vladimir Putin's upcoming fourth inauguration with street protests across Russian Federation, defying a heavy police presence that detained more than 1,600 demonstrators.

The question is whether those numbers would have been as high if Mr Navalny had accepted the Moscow authorities' offer to hold his protest at Sakharov Avenue.

One of those grabbed at a Moscow porotest was opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who had only just began to address the crowd when black-uniformed police snatched him from the microphone.

Thousands took part in the rally in Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square, where some protesters were detained by police and thrown into buses as the crowd chanted anti-Putin slogans.

Putin won a landslide re-election victory in March, extending his grip over the world's largest country at least until 2024, making him the longest-lasting leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin who ruled for almost 30 years. A recent survey showed people's readiness to participate in protests at the lowest level since 2010.

Navalny and hundreds of other protesters were detained by police at an unsanctioned demonstration on May 5 in Moscow.

Authorities in Moscow warned Navalny supporters in advance against taking part in the protest, calling it "absolutely unlawful".

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"They are different people, with different views, but as a whole, they have thoughts and ideas about Russia's future that differ from that of Putin", Navalny said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a close Putin ally, has called Navalny a political charlatan.

In Moscow, where more than 700 protesters were arrested, human rights figures called for an investigation into why people claiming to be Cossacks were allowed to assist the police crackdown.

He even has the power to remove ministers, such as the former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev who opposed Rosneft's resale of oil company Bashneft.Ulyukayev was arrested past year at Rosneft's headquarters, caught accepting a bribe that he said was a setup. Putin has now been in power as president or prime minister for more than two decades, which some see as a unsafe monopoly.

Putin has dismissed Navalny, who was barred from running in the presidential election on what he said was a trumped up pretext, as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington.

Russians angered by the impending inauguration of Vladimir Putin to a new term as the country's president demonstrated throughout the country on Saturday.

The event gathered a lot of supporters in many Russian cities.

European observers said there had been no real choice in the election, and complained of unfair pressure on critical voices.

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