There may be a Russian Spring protest against the government if anti-Putin activists Alexei Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky have their way, according to Newsweek. Navalny is under house arrest, but nonetheless, is planning a protest of at least 100, 000 people in Moscow on March 1. Navlny’s letter was signed on by Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who gave his permission for the protest, and also signing in support was exiled dissident, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has expressed his intention to run for President of Russia if Putin toppled.
Although it is not yet certain whether Khodorkovsky will come to Russia from Switzerland, where he has been living in exile, to join the protest. Navlny said he was happy that Khodorkovsky signed his support, “We are all very happy … He has called on his fellow countrymen to join the march, ” Navalny told Newsweek. The dissidents have called on Putin to resign over corruption and inability to manage the economy. The protest is intended to be peaceful, and the crowd will gather at Tverskaya Street, known for its luxurious properties and its prominence as a location for government ministries.
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Navlny was imprisoned on corruption charges in a “shock trial” that has been condemned by the EU Policy chief and the U.S. State Department. His brother Oleg served three and a half years in prison on the same charge. Specious charges seem to be thrown against critics of Putin with astounding frequency. Khodorkovsky, whose father was Jewish, was once head of Yukos oil, was imprisoned for what are widely regarded as trumped up charges, and the Russian government grabbed Yukos’ assets and most of Khodorkovsky’s wealth. He has said recently that he thinks Putin’s support is eroding and Putin’s end might well come from his inner circle; “I think the problem for Putin will come from his own entourage, ” he told the Leader Post.