Human Rights Watch: On January 23, 2021, police detained more than 3,700 people across Russia at nationwide protests against the arrest of political opposition figure Alexey Navalny and against state corruption, Human Rights Watch said today. It was the largest number of people detained on a single day in the country according to OVD-Info, a Russian human rights group that monitors public assemblies. There were numerous reports of excessive use of force by police, including beatings, with much photographed or filmed by media outlets or private citizens and posted to social media. Although there were some incidents of protester violence, the vast majority of the protests were peaceful. An independent assemblies’ monitoring expert estimated that the January 23 protest in Moscow was the largest in seven years. Several media outlets estimated that over 100,000 people took to the streets in over 100 cities across Russia.
The Guardian: The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, will fly to Moscow to personally deliver the bloc’s condemnation of the “completely unacceptable” arrest of the opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. The heads of state and government of the 27 member states will then reassess the EU’s relationship with Russia at a summit in March. Borrell said there was no “concrete proposal” from the member states as yet as to the consequences of the continued detention of Navalny and 3,000 of his supporters but that the EU was “ready to react”. Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, is among those who have called for sanctions, including Italy, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. He had also asked for the EU official to cancel his planned visit to Moscow. But after a meeting of foreign ministers, the bloc’s high representative for foreign affairs said the trip in the first week of February to meet Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, would go ahead.