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Poison, Arrest and a Secret Palace Fire Up Russians

Alexey Navalny’s call to protest has social media buzzing. Even modest crowds will cause the Kremlin concern.

Given the heavy-handed reactions since Navalny’s return, the authorities will probably keep up the pressure on Saturday, leaning on pandemic rules to keep crowds dispersed. They’ve already refused permission for gatherings in several cities. Detentions are likely to continue apace. No surprise, perhaps, given the network of former security and military officials around Putin who will consider only the need to preserve order, according to Tatiana Stanovaya of consultancy R.Politik, with little concern for the hazards that come with the excessive use of force.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be enough people out to irk the Kremlin, nor that they won’t persevere.

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