Disinfo: Russian police handles protesters humanely compared to French and American police

Summary

For the protesting youth, the demonstrations are an exciting game during which the demonstrators have never faced any serious consequences. The police does not hit them with batons, nor do they disperse them with tear gas. They do not appreciate how the Russian government treats them humanely, at least when compared to the suppression of protests in the USA or France. Most of the detainees are simply transferred to the police station, where they are charged with a small fine for an administrative offense, and then released. Many of them have even managed to return to the same demonstrations from which the police had just taken them.

Disproof

ِA pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the recent anti-government protests in Russia.

The claim deliberately confounds, on the one hand, legal restrictions on violent public behaviour in some Western states and, on the other, the quasi-legal concept of "unsanctioned rally" which the Russian state routinely invokes as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests. The arbitrary use of this provision runs contrary to international judicial precedent (see pp. 6-18), reports and opinions issued by international bodies (e.g. UN Human Rights Council pp. 7-13; Venice Commission pp. 18-26; OSCE pp. 15-21), and Russia's own constitution (Art. 31).

None of the countries mentioned in the claim have legislation stipulating prison time for peaceful protesters. In France, a term of up to six months can only be given to repeat violent offenders who ignore a prohibition to attend public demonstrations; in the US, police may not break up a gathering unless there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic, or other immediate threat to public safety, according to the First Amendment.

There is ample evidence that the law enforcement response to the demonstrations was excessive, with numerous instances of unprovoked police brutality. OVD-Info, a Russian human rights NGO, reports that a record 3,500 people were detained by 24 January. In a comprehensive account of police violence including severe beatings, arbitrary arrests, and targeting of journalists, Human Rights Watch says:

"The unprecedented detentions and extreme police brutality across Russia are evidence of how low human rights standards have plummeted in the country."

The European Union condemned the crackdown on Alexei Navalny's supporters, mass detentions and police brutality during the protests. The EU has repeatedly called on Russia for Navalny's immediate release.

See a similar case that reports of police brutality during Russia protests are Western propaganda.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 230
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Country: France, US, Russia
  • Keywords: West, 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.