Last week, Navaline, a Russian opposition activist, was immediately arrested by the police after returning home and will wait for the court to make a ruling.
According to a report from “Russia Today” (RT) on January 23, thousands of people took to the streets of major cities in Russia and held “illegal demonstrations” to protest the arrest of Navalny. Among them, the demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg turned into violent activities. Some Russian media reported that there was even a cruel scene of demonstrators “forcibly digging” the eyes of security personnel.
The Russian police have quickly controlled the demonstrations. After the incident, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “is fully fired.”
Regarding European and American media reports that the number of participants in Moscow reached 40,000, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sarcastically said on social media: “Why don’t you say there are 4 million?” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova also said that the parade issued by the US embassy The information even predates the organizers of the event. If the Russian side makes a similar move, American politicians will be “hysterically fearful of Russia” on a global scale.
At present, the Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned US diplomats in Russia and warned the US embassy not to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs.
Under the new coronavirus epidemic, the demonstration was unapproved.
According to the Russian Satellite News Agency, Navalny and his allies have incited the people to join the protests on the 23rd. This Thursday (21st), Navalny’s close assistant Lyubov Sobol (Lyubov Sobol) was briefly arrested on suspicion of inciting protest. And his other assistant Leonid Volkov (Leonid Volkov) also said on the 23rd that a new protest will be held next weekend.
Before the protest, there were many content inciting minors to join the protest on the Russian social networking site VK and the short video app TikTok. The Russian Procuratorate previously requested social media to delete content that incited minors to protest. The Russian Communications Administration (Roskomnadzor) responded on the 23rd and stated that it had deleted 93% and 87% of posts on VK and TikTok respectively.
In addition, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office issued news that the demonstrations and assemblies in various places on the 23rd were without approval and were a provocation and threat to public safety.
Despite this, demonstrations broke out in many Russian cities on the 23rd. According to the Moscow police, about 4,000 people gathered in Pushkin Square, north of the Kremlin. In addition to Moscow, people in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Irkutsk, Tomsk, Ulan-Ude, and other cities held parades and rallies with varying numbers of participants.
The Russian government warned that such gatherings disrupt public order and that such large-scale gatherings are not allowed under the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Russia Today” video shows a female policeman distributing masks to a group of teenagers who participated in the protest on Pushkin Square. There were also law enforcement officers at the scene using loudspeakers to remind the public that they need to maintain social distancing and wear masks and gloves to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
According to live photos shared by “Russia Today” and Satellite News Agency, some protesters did not wear masks. The Moscow government officials later confirmed that about 20 patients diagnosed with the new coronavirus participated in the protest.
Demonstrations turned into violence
The protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg quickly turned into violent activities. Throughout the afternoon of the 23rd, riot police were dispersing the crowds on Pushkin Square in Moscow, and the protesters scuffled with the police.
“Russia Today” described that as the number of people around Pushkin Square became less and less, some of the remaining people began to attack a car that was said to belong to the security department, punching and kicking, and smashing windows. There are reports that the driver’s “eyes were dug out by the mob”.
A security official told RIA Novosti: “The details of (the incident) are currently being investigated.” He also revealed that a total of 39 police officers in Moscow were injured, but their injuries were not serious.
There is also a live video showing a protester against Navariny standing on a lamppost in the square, unfolding banners criticizing the opposition. But a man appeared in the crowd supporting Navalny, climbed up the pole, pushed him down with force, and damaged the street light.
According to RIA Novosti news, during the parade and assembly, someone threw snowballs, bottles, and other objects at the police. The police arrested a number of marchers.
Violence also occurred in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city. A video posted by the local news site Fontanka showed a man approaching a traffic policeman, punching him in the face, and walking away. The traffic policeman fell. on the ground. Subsequently, another police officer tried to arrest the attacker.
In Yekaterinburg, protesters threw smoke bombs at the riot police and were eventually dispersed. In Makhachkala, about 30 people who participated in the rally were detained by the police.
The Moscow government stated that as of 4 pm that day, a total of 2,600 people had left Pushkin Square and the number of arrests exceeded 600, but the number of arrests across Russia that day has not been announced. “Russia Today” mentioned in the report that OVD-Info, a Western-funded non-governmental organization, claimed that the Russian police detained more than 2,500 people.
Among these people was Yulia Navalnaya’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, who also posted a photo on Instagram from the police car and was subsequently released.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “is fully fired” and refutes Western media and diplomats.
As for the specific number of people participating in the protest, Russian media generally described it as “thousands,” while mainstream Western media such as Reuters reported that the number of people participating in the rally in Moscow alone reached at least 40,000 that day. This also attracted a refutation from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sarcastically said on Facebook: “Reuters estimates that 40,000 people gathered in central Moscow to participate in the protest. Why not say 4 million people?”
In addition to cheering Western media, the Russian Foreign Ministry has also targeted American diplomats and warned them not to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs.
On the same day, Rebecca Ross, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Russia, claimed on Twitter that the Russian government had arrested “peaceful protesters and journalists” and suppressed “freedom of speech” and “peaceful assemblies.”
However, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs subsequently posted on the social networking site VK that they checked the article written by Ross about the riots on Capitol Hill in the United States. “The strange thing is that you (Ross) did not write anything, did not call on your citizens to protest peacefully, and did not condemn the killing of 5 people and the detention of more than 100 people.” However, this article also stated that Rose’s boss Sha Levin did criticize the “mob” at the time.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs added: “Hypocrisy is a tool of American diplomacy, and this becomes particularly dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take care of your own problems and stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.”
On the evening of January 23, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova stated that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had urgently summoned US diplomats in Russia. Russia asked the US diplomats to announce the time of demonstrations in major cities in Russia on January 23 at the US Embassy. Explain the behavior of the location. On the same day, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on its official website to resolutely oppose the interference of the US Embassy in Russia in Russia’s internal affairs.
The statement pointed out that the US embassy disregarded Russia’s opposition to wanton incitement of violent activities in Russia and even tried to involve minors in these illegal gatherings. The various actions of the US will have a serious negative impact on the relations between the two countries.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS on the 23rd that after the US embassy in Moscow announced the “protest schedule” in Russian cities, US diplomats must explain to Russia.
“Yesterday, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow announced the protest route’ of various cities in Russia and added information about the advance to the Kremlin’. What is that: trap or instruction? Even the organizers did not announce these plans. “
She added: “The American diplomat must explain to Russia.”
“We can imagine what would happen if the Russian Embassy in Washington released a protest route map with destinations (such as the Capitol). This kind of orienteering’ should end in global hysteria by American politicians. Including Russian slogans, threats of sanctions and expulsion of Russian diplomats.”
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier that the information on the time and location of unauthorized gatherings published on the US Embassy’s website exceeded the embassy’s concerns for American citizens in Russia. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that the Russian side would regard such actions by the US Embassy as interference in internal affairs.
In addition to the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have successively expressed their “worries” about the Russian protests.
The “protagonist” of this incident is the Russian opposition figure Navalny. In 2014, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, suspended for five years for embezzling 30 million rubles (approximately 2.64 million yuan) from two companies. After a one-year extension, Navalny’s probation period expired on December 30 last year.
In August last year, Navalny was suspected of being poisoned and was sent to Germany for treatment. European and American governments and the media insist that Russian intelligence agencies are involved in “poisoning drugs.” The Russian government denied it and emphasized that Berlin refused to share medical information and refused to respond to Russia’s proposal to initiate a joint investigation. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that Navalny received the support of US intelligence services.
For the next five months, Navaline refused to return to Russia to report regularly. The Russian Federal Prison Administration stated on December 29 last year that Navalny had missed six consecutive registrations. The German public medical records show that he has recovered and is capable of returning to Russia.
On the evening of the 17th, a statement was issued that Navaline, a Russian opposition figure wanted for multiple violations of probation provisions, had arrived in Moscow by plane and was arrested by the police. He will continue to be detained until the court makes a decision.
A large-scale fire broke out in the training ground of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and the US military was training nearby at the time of the incident
According to Japanese TV Asahi, a large-scale fire broke out in the North Fuji training ground of the Ground Self-Defense Force in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan on the evening of the 4th. The US military was holding shooting training nearby at the time of the incident.
The fire broke out at about 4:30 in the evening on the 4th. The incident occurred at the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force training ground across Fujiyoshida City and Yamanakako Village in Yamanashi County. At that time, thick smoke erupted, and then the fire spread widely in the shape of “one”, causing a large-scale fire.
The Japanese Self-Defense Forces continued to put out the fire, and the fire basically subsided late at night. At the time of the incident, nearby US troops were conducting howitzer shooting training. No one was injured in the fire, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy is trying to contact Myanmar leaders
On February 1, Myanmar changed. Following the UN Secretary-General Guterres’s “strong condemnation” of the Myanmar military’s detention of Myanmar’s Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials, the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a regular press conference, The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar and Swiss diplomat Christine Burgener is trying to contact government officials in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, but communication has not been restored.
“Birgner is actively interacting with this issue,” Dujarik said at a press conference. “She has consulted with dialogue parties outside Myanmar and is trying to get in touch with the Myanmar government. However, currently, Communication in the capital is very difficult.”
Bilgna has served as the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar since 2018. In addition to her, the UN Myanmar team in Yangon was also unable to obtain information about the situation, and other UN agencies in New York also failed to obtain the opportunity to communicate with the Myanmar government in Naypyidaw.
Dujarik added that the personnel sent by the United Nations to Myanmar are paying close attention to the development of the situation to ensure that vulnerable groups in Myanmar will not suffer too much from the incident as the epidemic spreads. He said that the most important thing for Myanmar at present is that the international community can “speak with one voice.”
“What we know is that the will of the people of Myanmar has been overthrown in an undemocratic way,” Dujarik said. “This situation must be changed and the will of the people must be respected.”
Faced with the uncertain status of Myanmar, the United Kingdom, the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, will hold a meeting to discuss the current situation in Myanmar on the morning of February 2nd Eastern Time. Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to the United Nations, expressed the hope that the members of the Security Council can conduct “constructive discussions” on the form of Myanmar at the meeting.
According to news from Agence France-Presse on the 1st, the meeting will be conducted via video and will not be made public. The Special Envoy for Myanmar, Birgner, will brief the Security Council on the latest development of the incident.
On February 1, Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese President Win Myint were detained by the military. A Burmese woman accidentally recorded a military vehicle driving towards the parliament. At around 8 am on the same day, the Myanmar military declared a state of emergency in Myanmar. According to the United Nations News Network, many newly-elected parliamentarians are currently under house arrest, the streets of the city are heavily guarded, and wireless network devices such as mobile phones are almost completely interrupted.
In response to this matter, in an interview on February 1, the United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called on the international community to take “decisive action”, including “strong and targeted sanctions and Arms embargo”. In addition, he stated that he should “unconditionally release all detained persons and resume communications” and end this “horrifying illegal act”.
The U.S. finally identified the ‘Myanmar coup’ and mentioned China
In the face of the sudden change in the political situation in Myanmar on the 1st, the US’s statement changed from “shock” to “call for release” to “threat of sanctions.” Although the wording has become stronger and stronger, the United States has never used the term “coup”.
On the afternoon of the 2nd, the wording of the Biden administration finally changed. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at his first press conference after taking office that the United States, after examining all the facts, determined that the military action of the Myanmar military on February 1 constituted a military coup. He specifically mentioned that this military coup is not in the interests of the United States and “nor is it in the interests of China.”
According to the US “Foreign Aid Act”, if a country has a “military coup” or any act that “deposes a democratically elected head of government” through a government order, the United States must limit its aid to that country.
However, a reporter mentioned at the press conference that when the Egyptian political turmoil occurred in 2013, the Obama administration took three weeks to decide whether to define the Egyptian incident as a coup. In this Myanmar incident, the Biden administration basically made a decision in less than a day. The reporter asked about this, why is this government able to make a decision so quickly that the Myanmar incident meets the criteria for a coup?
In this regard, Price said that this case is “very clear”, “We are based on the judgment that (Myanmar) deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Min in the military coup on February 1.”
“The’State Council, Foreign Operations and Related Projects’ appropriation bill contain a recurring clause that restricts certain aid to the military. Let’s take a look at three criteria… the officially elected head of government (first), Was deposed by a military coup or decree (second), in which the army played a decisive role (third),” Price added. These are the three standards that the State Council has been paying attention to. What happened in Myanmar on February 1 A coup, so we acted quickly.
He said: “This military coup is obviously not in our (U.S.) interests, and certainly not in the interests of our like-minded partners (countries). I think you will also find that this is not in China’s interests.”
But when asked if the US side had any communication with China, Price did not answer directly. He said: “I don’t have a specific dialogue to talk about. Once again, our focus is on our allies who share our interests.”
In addition, Price also mentioned the specific amount of bilateral aid provided by the United States to Myanmar in the fiscal year 2020-$135 million. “I must say that only a small part of this aid is for the Myanmar government.”
CNN quoted a U.S. State Department official as saying that the U.S. direct foreign aid to the Myanmar government was “very little.” “The Myanmar government, including the Myanmar military, has been subject to some foreign aid restrictions, including due to its Legal restrictions on military assistance caused by human rights records”.
The official said that the U.S. government will start the review “immediately”, “The review includes projects that indirectly benefit the military or low-level officers.” “At the same time, we will continue to implement projects that directly benefit the people of Myanmar, including humanitarian assistance. And democratic support projects that benefit civil society.”