Russia: New protests called to demand opposition leader Navalny’s release from jail

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. opposition leader / ˌɒp əˈzɪʃ ən ˈli dər / (n) – the person who’s in charge of the main political party that has opposite views from the government

    The opposition leader questioned the government’s budget plan for next year.

  2. outpouring / ˈaʊtˌpɔr ɪŋ / (n) – a sudden, powerful, and uncontrolled expression of strong feelings or emotions

    The accident led to an outpouring of support from the local community.

  3. detention / dɪˈtɛn ʃən / (n) – the state of being kept in prison

    The men were held in detention because they were caught trying to rob a bank.

  4. justice / ˈdʒʌs tɪs / (n) – fair and morally right behavior or treatment

    The murderer was set free?! That’s not justice!

  5. nerve agent / nɜrv ˈeɪ dʒənt / (n) – a poisonous substance that damages the body’s nervous system

    This isn’t a regular illness; some of the doctors think he was poisoned with a nerve agent.


Read the text below.

Allies of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who faces years in prison, called for new protests to demand his release, following a wave of demonstrations that turned out tens of thousands across the country in a defiant challenge to President Vladimir Putin.

Mass rallies took place Jan. 23 in over 100 cities in what observers said was the largest outpouring of anger in years. Over 3,700 people were detained, according to a human rights group that monitors political arrests. More than 1,400 detentions occurred in Moscow alone, according to Russian media.

Navalny strategist Leonid Volkov called for more protests in “all Russian cities” for Jan. 31. “For Navalny’s freedom. For our freedom. For justice,” he said in a Jan. 25 tweet.

Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s fiercest critic, was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny the accusations. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Navalny blames his nerve-agent poisoning on the Kremlin, but Russian authorities deny the accusations. Do you believe they poisoned him? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • As expected, Navalny was immediately arrested upon his arrival in Russia. What do you think of his decision to return to his home country (ex. brave, foolish)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Observers say the mass rallies for Navalny were the largest outpouring of anger in years. Do you think they will influence the Russian government to allow more opposition? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Putin recently signed a new law that allows him to stay in power until 2036. Would you consider him to be a dictator? Why or why not? Discuss.