On Sunday, police brutally dispersed a group of demonstrators who came to Moscow’s Pushkin Square, the traditional site of dissident rallies since the Soviet era, to denounce Vladimir Putin’s presumptive attack on Ukraine. The protesters, who included veteran human rights leader and former member of parliament Lev Ponomarev, were detained as soon as they unfurled their banners; some were taken into police custody and charged with violating Moscow’s strict ban on public demonstrations imposed under the pretext of the pandemic. (Needless to say, the ban applies only to opposition rallies. When Putin addressed 80,000 people packed into a stadium to mark the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, the authorities had no objections.)
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