This week Russian police detained about 500 people at a protest over the jailing of an investigative Moscow journalist. The journalist, Ivan Golunov, was arrested last Thursday for allegedly dealing drugs, a charge he denies. In an unusual turn of events, the police released him and promised to punish those who allegedly framed him. Not only did hundreds turn out in the streets to protest the arrest, but the three main newspapers printed front page headlines decrying the arrest, an uncommon show of solidarity.
The widespread protest was also unusual for the country but may grow more common. According to Levada
, an independent public opinion research non-profit, Russians
are nearly twice more likely to protest now than they were two years ago. In February 2017, only about 12 percent of Russian respondents said they would probably participate in a public mass protest. By February 2019, about a quarter of respondents said they would likely participate in a public mass protest.