Russian and international journalists who were covering anti-corruption protests that took place across Russia on Sunday 26 March 2017 were among those detained as police moved to disperse demonstrators.
The protests erupted following allegations of hidden assets amassed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. A video detailing the investigation conducted by the Russian NGO Anti-corruption Foundation attracted nearly 20 million views and caused a wave of public indignation.
Alexey Navalny, an opposition political activist and co-founder of the NGO, had called for demonstrations, which took place in nearly 100 cities. Initiative groups in Moscow and other cities supported the protest and called on local members to participate. As a result, meetings took place in 98 cities from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad. In 30 cities, the protests were broken up by the police, who detained many and reportedly committed human rights violations. According to OVD-Info, a website that monitors police detainments, in Moscow alone there more than 1,000 people detained, with around 150 detained in Makhachkala and 130 in Saint Petersburg. Some detainees in Moscow spent two nights in custody while waiting for court hearings.
In Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Makhachkala, Petrozavodsk and Saratov, journalists were detained and harassed by the police among protesters.
Moscow police detained RBC correspondent Timofey Dzyadko, Mediazona publisher Piotr Verzilov, correspondent for Open Russia website Sofiko Arifdzhanova, Public Television of Russia journalist Olga Orlova, Echo of Moscow journalist Alexandr Pluschev and Pyotr Parkhomenko of Kommersant-FM. They all spent 3-4 hours in police stations and were released after intervention by their employers.
The owner and editor of the infotainment website gagster.ru Vladimir Stolyarov was detained at his home during the Moscow demonstration for posting, according to his brother, “a link to the live stream of the protest actions and organized streaming on this website”.