… or what does natural gas have in common with an unauthorized rally?
“I’m glad you have a wood-burning stove at home, because the news said that America has a problem with natural gas, ” my sister told me on Viber.
Sisters, they are such sisters.
But she made me really interested in the news. As soon as I got home I turned on YouTube*.
The main topic of the Russian media was the protest marches against the arrest of Alexei Navalny**.
Angry protests against Navalny’s detention spread across the country’s 11 time zones last Saturday. Moscow and St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and Tomsk, Vladivostok and Yakutsk, and many others. The government didn’t give them permission. So they came without one.
It was – 61° F in Yakutsk (about 300 miles south of the Arctic Circle), but the people still came.
Fortunately, it was warmer in Tomsk on Saturday afternoon. And, fortunately, unlike some other cities, the march and rally were held without incident.
However, in total, 3,000 Russians in 100 cities were reportedly arrested this weekend on behalf of one person.
So, who is Navalny?
Navalny became a popular political figure in Russia when I was living in the US. I didn’t know much about him, just what I’d heard on TV. The Russian media call him a blogger, the American media call him an oppositionist. You can choose.
Navalny became ill on August 20, 2020, during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. After an emergency landing in Omsk, the politician was hospitalized in one of the local hospitals. Two days later, he was transported to Germany in a coma.
After undergoing treatment in Germany Navalny returned to Russia on January 17. At Sheremetyevo airport, he was detained. The Russian authorities said that he had violated the terms of his sentence in the Yves Rocher case. The trial, which took place on January 18 right in the police station, where Navalny was taken from the airport, detained him for 30 days.
My American friend texted me Tuesday night: “watching all the protests in russia. Very interesting to see it happening there”.
She was right. Interesting, unusual and scary. I was very happy to learn that the protest march was not violent in Tomsk.
According to RIA Tomsk correspondents, there were no detentions during the rally.
However, the deputy of the Tomsk City Duma and the organizer of the rally, Andrey Fateev, said that the head of Navalny’s headquarters in Tomsk, Ksenia Fadeeva, was taken to the Leninsky district police department after the rally.
So, at 2 PM, people gathered on Novosobornaya Square, around 2:20 PM, the march began along Lenin Avenue in the direction of the square of the same name. The action was not coordinated, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs officers temporarily blocked Frunze Avenue. At 2:40 PM the action ended with a rally in front of the regional administration building, at 3:50 PM its participants dispersed.
It seems that the main problem of the unauthorized rally in Tomsk was a traffic jam with a length of almost 2.5 kilometers on Lenin Avenue.
Meanwhile, vaccination against COVID-19 in the Tomsk region continues. It started on November 11, 2020. The first vaccinations were given to medical workers, and then to teachers. By mid-January, the region received 7,042 doses of the vaccine trademark “Sputnik-V”. By March, the Tomsk region expects 53 thousand doses. An online pre-registration service for vaccination has been opened in the region.
Many residents express concern about the quality of the vaccines. But, judging by the news, a foreign vaccine in Russia is not on the horizon. My eldest son decided to sign up for a vaccination next month.
To be honest, I trust russian scientists. Let’s hope. What else can you do when more people are getting covid-19 every day?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, as of January 23, 27,419 cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the Tomsk region (115 of them in the last day), 24,421 people have recovered (111 in the last day), and 251 have died.
The main thing that bothers me is the weather. On Sunday afternoon, temperatures are expected to reach -29.2º F in Tomsk. I always worry about my family in Tomsk.
The main concern of my dog is if he would get a cookie tonight. Isn’t it nice to be a dog?
*The time difference between Tomsk (RUSSIA) and New Bedford (USA) is 12 hours. When my sister was getting ready for the night I just got to work.
**Alexey Anatolyevich Navalny (born June 4, 1976, Moscow Region, USSR) is a Russian opposition leader, lawyer, political and public figure, famous for his investigations of corruption in Russia. He positions himself as the main opponent of the Russian leadership led by Vladimir Putin. Founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation. The Wall Street Journal called Navalny “the man Vladimir Putin fears the most.”