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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Putin attends Navy Day commemorations in St. Petersburg. Kremlin.ru

Anti-Kremlin crowds

Huge anti-government demonstrations erupted in Russia's Far East over the arrest of a popular governor who was replaced this week by a Kremlin appointee who has never lived in the fraught region.

Residents of Khabarovsk near the border with China took to the streets en masse for the third Saturday in a row after governor Sergei Furgal was arrested by federal law enforcement and flown to Moscow on murder charges this month.

These have been some of the largest anti-government protests in Russia in years, which the Kremlin said this week were being fueled by opposition activists outside Khabarovsk.

Demonstrations erupted in Russia's Far East. Dmitry Morgulis / TASS

Arrested activists

Members of the Russian "United Democrats" movement, which campaigns for meaningful elections, were arrested in the republic of Tatarstan, the group said on Facebook.

Russian special forces seized the members in the Tatarstan capital Kazan "to investigate their involvement in terrorism," the group said, without giving details. One of the movement's coordinators said the arrests took place during a conference on municipal public procurement organized by the Berlin-based Transparency International NGO.

Donbass ceasefire

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed efforts to resolve Ukraine's conflict with Kremlin-backed separatists during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a ceasefire starting Monday.

Moscow and Kiev agreed to implement a ceasefire in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass during negotiations earlier this month, as a precondition for a broader settlement agreed in the capital of Belarus in 2015.

Shaman surrender

A Siberian shaman who made national headlines for attempting to trek to Moscow and “cast out” Putin from power won’t restart his journey, he said after being discharged from the psychiatric hospital he was forced into earlier this year.

In a statement carried by local media, Alexander Gabyshev said he wishes to focus on his health and personal life.

Navy Day

Russia held its annual Navy Day commemorations in St. Petersburg with a parade that showed off the country’s best ships, nuclear submarines and naval aviation. 

Speaking at the parade, Putin said the Russian Navy would soon be equipped with hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones in addition to receiving 40 new vessels this year.

AFP contributed reporting.

Kremlin.ru

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