Disinfo: Only a few thousand people turned up for pro-Navalny protests in Russia

Summary

According to the BBC, there are “more and more” people joining the protests in support of Alexei Navalny. That is a lie. Even though Navalny’s video has been watched 100 million times, a mere several thousand people turned up for protests across Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation seeking to discredit Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny and downplay the scale of the protests currently taking place in Russia.

Regardless of how one construes the term "several thousand," it certinaly does not apply to the ongoing rallies in Russia. According to Reuters, the initial round of protests on 23 January attracted 40,000 demonstrators in Moscow alone; the Russian independent news website MBK-Media estimated the total number of protesters nationwide at around 110,000; while the Russian opposition spoke of up to 160,000 individuals.

On the other hand, gauging the number of people who took part in the 31 January demonstrations in Moscow and St Petersburg was made difficult by the unprecedented number of riot police who physically barred pedestrian access to a number of key meeting spots and thoroughfares in both cities. According to a conservative estimate cited by the Open Media website, some 20,000 Petersburgers had turned up for protests by 13:00 that day, which would match or exceed MBK's tally for 23 January (10,000-20,000). Navalny's allies have stated that between 200,000 and 300,000 people across Russia participated in the 31 January rallies.

At least 11,000 people have been detained.

The EU has condemned mass detentions and police brutality during the protests in Russia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 230
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: Alexei Navalny, Protest
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The actions in support of Navalny is an episode in the West’s war against Russia

The illegal manifestations of the supporters of Alexei Navalny is an episode of the large war that the West is waging against Russia.

Disproof

An unfounded claim presented without evidence. This message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives that protests, disorders and civil uprisings are never manifestations of popular discontent but are "colour revolutions" directed and funded by Western intelligence services or other Western actors in order to destabilise targeted foreign states and bring about regime change(opens in a new tab). And the West is always an aggressive actor constantly preparing new coups (opens in a new tab)and colour revolutions(opens in a new tab) in post-Soviet states. This narrative has been applied, among others, to the Arab Spring revolts, Euromaidan(opens in a new tab) in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia(opens in a new tab), Venezuela(opens in a new tab), Georgia(opens in a new tab), and Belarus(opens in a new tab).

The 2021 Russian protests(opens in a new tab) began on 23 January 2021 in support of the arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny and as a reaction to the investigation Putin's Palace(opens in a new tab). The rallies — from Russia’s Far East to central Moscow — came less than a week after Navalny returned from Germany, where he recovered from a nerve agent poisoning in August during a trip to Siberia. Navalny was arrested shortly after stepping off the plane. More than 3,300 people were arrested in protests spanning nearly 70 cities and towns across Russia(opens in a new tab).

The Liberals only want the protests for getting nice pictures for foreign newspapers

Navalny’s supporters need people to be detained in order to fight for their release. They are really wasting peoples’ lives.

The most disgusting part is that first and foremost they need nice pictures for the covers of western and Russian liberal newspapers. This is the really sick part of all this.

Disproof

An unfounded claim presented without evidence. This message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives that protests, disorders and civil uprisings are never manifestations of popular discontent but are "colour revolutions" directed and funded by Western intelligence services or other Western actors in order to destabilise targeted foreign states and bring about regime change(opens in a new tab). And the West is always an aggressive actor constantly preparing new coups (opens in a new tab)and colour revolutions(opens in a new tab) in post-Soviet states. This narrative has been applied, among others, to the Arab Spring revolts, Euromaidan(opens in a new tab) in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia(opens in a new tab), Venezuela(opens in a new tab), Georgia(opens in a new tab), and Belarus(opens in a new tab).

The 2021 Russian protests(opens in a new tab) began on 23 January 2021 in support of the arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny and as a reaction to the investigation Putin's Palace(opens in a new tab). The rallies — from Russia’s Far East to central Moscow — came less than a week after Navalny returned from Germany, where he recovered from a nerve agent poisoning in August during a trip to Siberia. Navalny was arrested shortly after stepping off the plane. More than 3,300 people were arrested in protests spanning nearly 70 cities and towns across Russia(opens in a new tab).

US involvement in the protests in Russia is a proven fact

The blatant involvement of the United States in Russia’s internal affairs is proven by the fact that the internet platforms, under US control, spread fakes and calls to participate in un-sanctioned actions. Videos with calls to participate in manifestations, sometimes addressing minors, have been published by YouTube, controlled by Google.

Disproof

This message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives that protests, disorders and civil uprisings are never manifestations of popular discontent but are "colour revolutions" directed and funded by Western intelligence services or other Western actors in order to destabilise targeted foreign states and bring about regime change(opens in a new tab). And the West is always an aggressive actor constantly preparing new coups (opens in a new tab)and colour revolutions(opens in a new tab) in post-Soviet states. This narrative has been applied, among others, to the Arab Spring revolts, Euromaidan(opens in a new tab) in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia(opens in a new tab), Venezuela(opens in a new tab), Georgia(opens in a new tab), and Belarus(opens in a new tab).

Unlike traditional media, content of social media is provided by the users. YouTube, Facebook, Google etc provides platforms for peer-to-peer exchange of content, be that pictures of kittens, political memes or discussions on current affairs. The companies issue terms of use for the platforms and can, if necessary, limit the access to the exchange if a user violates those terms. The platforms themselves do not produce the content.