MOSCOW — A day after Russia’s largest wave of unsanctioned protests in years, opposition leaders on Monday cheered the turnout as a sign of widespread dissatisfaction with the system created by President Vladimir Putin.
Anti-corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny has sent the Kremlin a sharp message by single-handedly sparking nationwide rallies noteworthy both for their geographic diversity and the enormous tally of protesters detained in a single day.
The question now is how authorities will respond to the show of defiance.
In Moscow, Navalny was ordered jailed for 15 days and fined $350 on two charges, including refusing to obey police. That will give the Kremlin time to review what happened and decide whether to ignore the protests, accede to demonstrators’ demands to crack down on official corruption, or launch a crackdown of their own on opposition leaders.