Week-ending 11 Deceember 2020
On 6 December 2020 police detained Valery Solovei, a former professor who worked at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations until last year when he left for ‘political reasons,’ near a peaceful protest organised by the Change movement. Valery Solovei founded Change, a political movement inspired by events in Belarus, in October this year.
RFE/RL, Sunday, 6 December 2020: Russian police have detained prominent political scientist and Kremlin critic Valery Solovei. Solovei was detained in St. Petersburg on December 6 near a meeting of the opposition Change movement, which he founded in October. Police reportedly detained him for violating a coronavirus mask mandate, Solovei said. Earlier, unknown provocateurs threw a smoke bomb into the crowd of Change movement supporters. A former professor, Solovei had worked for the Moscow State Institute of International Relations until last year when he left the elite institution for what he said were “political reasons.” He founded Change as a decentralized movement, taking as its model NEXTA in neighboring Belarus, which has covered and coordinated ongoing protests against authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka.