Amid the nationwide demonstrations across Russia, footage of protesters hurling snowballs at a group of police has taken the internet by storm. Tens of thousands of Alexei Navalny supporters have protested across the country in one of the largest demonstrations against President Vladimir Putin’s rule of the past decade. According to The Guardian, more than 3,000 people were arrested by riot police at dozens of unsanctioned rallies throughout Russia.
The video of the unique protest in Moscow has been shared by several people. The clip shows cops being hurled with snowballs. The form of demonstration, however, seemed totally harmless as the police did not resort to offensive mode.
russians throwing snowballs at the police during protests 😭 pic.twitter.com/yxlvXD4mxv— Vasilisa (@vasilisonka) January 23, 2021
Nationwide demonstrations, demanding an immediate release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, were held. The protests were organised in a range of cities across Russia when the temperatures were as low as minus-50 C, highlighting the influence Kremlin’s most prominent foe has built in the nation. Navalny's wife Yulia was also detained in Moscow. Navalny was arrested on January 17 on returning to Moscow from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he has blamed on the Kremlin but Russian authorities deny.
Following the arrests, the Russian government broke its silence on the nationwide protests and they not only downplayed the severity of the demonstrations that were witnessed in several cities but also accused the United States of meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs. As human right groups and the US condemned the violence and detaining of demonstrators, the Kremlin press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, said: "We’re not ready for diktat, we’re not ready for boorishness, and we’re not ready for any crossing of red lines".
On state television, Peskov said that Putin would be willing for a dialogue with the US President Joe Biden administration despite the disagreements. However, he noted that both nations are presently closer to “enemies” than “partners”. In the interview, he also said that protests would play into the hands of those who do not want to stabilise Russia and that people who supported the demonstrations are less than the ones who back Putin.