With Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny jailed, popular backing for protests supporting him dwindles, survey reveals
Only 16% of Russians have a favorable opinion of those who participated in last month’s marches in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny, dropping almost a third from the 22% who backed earlier protests in January.
That’s according to a new survey conducted by the Levada Center, a polling company which is registered as a foreign agent by the country’s Ministry of Justice. The research revealed that 39% of Russians hold negative opinions about the protesters, while 42% said they felt neutral.
The poll also revealed that younger citizens have a more positive attitude towards protesters, with 26% of 18- to 24-year-olds backing the demonstrations.Also on rt.com Navalny ally & ex-Ekaterinburg mayor Roizman given 9 days behind bars for tweets encouraging attendance of unsanctioned protests
The unauthorized protest on April 21 was organized by Navalny’s team ostensibly with the goal of demanding medical care for the opposition figure, who was in prison on hunger strike, petitioning to see a doctor of his own choice. His allies claimed that he was close to death, and the protest was billed as the ‘final battle’ between good and neutral. After the demonstration, Navalny announced that he had been examined by civilian doctors the day before the protests.
April’s march came three months after two January protests, when his supporters arranged a mass gathering to demand that he be released from prison. These rallies were much more popular, with 22% of those questioned supporting the demonstrators. The January protests were also boosted by a viral video published on YouTube called ‘Putin’s Palace’, in which Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of building a billion-dollar mansion.
The activist is currently in jail, serving a two-year-and-eight-month jail term for breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence handed to him in 2014, when he was found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher.
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