Moscow, Khabarovsk, Vitaliy Blagojevich discussed on All Things Considered


As protests over racial injustice continue to rage across the U. S. In Russia. Thousands of people are also taking to the streets for the 20th day in a row people in the far east of the country march to protest the arrest of a popular governor. Their anger was first directed at government bureaucrats in Moscow, 4000 miles away. But now That anger is increasingly directed at President Vladimir Putin himself. That is the sound of people protesting today. Her shouting Putin resigned. NPR's Lucy in Kim joins us now from Moscow. Hey, Lucy In a So who is this governor? I mean, why did his arrest spark these protests? His name is Sergei. For Gall. He's a local businessman who amazingly beat the pro Kremlin candidate in a landslide for governor of Khabarovsk region two years ago. And then earlier this month for goal was arrested by masked federal agents and taken to a Moscow prison where he's now in pretrial detention on charges of ordering contract killings 15 years ago. He says he's innocent. And ah lot of people in Khabarovsk have taken to the streets to support him. So if this governor is being charged with crimes for involvement in contract killings, why are people they're so upset? Well, People are upset because they feel Moscow has overruled their democratic choice, and they're also angry that he will stand trial there and not in Khabarovsk, Khabarovsk region, borders Thie, Pacific Ocean and China. And people there feel for gotten and neglected by the federal government in Moscow, I spoke with one protester. His name is Vitaly Blagojevich, and before the Corona virus pandemic he taught Russian at a Chinese university. I've been expecting that maybe the protease will go down. But every day when you come, you are experience in the the Prudie's is going up every day. I'm happy. He says He didn't even vote. For for gall, but he's angry with the way that he's being treated. So do you think authorities are going to be cracking down on these protests? I mean, how long can they continue? The Kremlin finds itself in a tough position there so many protesters that they can't use force and throw everybody in jail. And if the Kremlin ignores a protest, they run the risk of other regions getting the same idea. I asked Nina Khrushcheva, Russia expert at the new school in New York, how dangerous she thinks the protests are. They don't really have a leader in those protests have probably that was dangerous, because if the cause is Moscow has too much power. They can really spread like wildfire, especially there in Siberia in the Far East. The protester I spoke to Vitaliy Blagojevich said he was really angry that some protesters were being called into the police. And he said, that's what brought him out every night this week. Saturday's have seen the biggest protests in Khabarovsk. Everybody will be watching what happens this weekend. That is NPR's Lucien Kim in Moscow. Thank you, Lucy in. Thanks, Elsa..

Coming up next