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Russian opposition leader arrested after calling for election boycott

Russians protest government corruption ahead of the March election that Putin is likely to win

Protests swept across dozens of cities in Russia this weekend as voters called for more choices in the country’s upcoming election and prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested, yet again, rallying people in Moscow to boycott the March 18 vote.

“Every additional year of Putin staying in power is one more year of decay,” Navalny said in a video calling for the weekend protests. Though Navalny was barred from running this year, he's still forging forward, galvanizing younger people in Russia against government corruption. But his boycotting campaign seems to be drawing less attention than his anti-corruption movement from last year, which analysts says indicates he’s not as strong an opponent of the Kremlin as he once was.

Vladimir Putin has been in power in Russia since 2000, spanning three terms as President and one as Prime Minister. Polls show he has no real competition this year, and will likely be elected for a new term ending in 2026.

But that doesn't mean people are happy about it: Local news outlets reported marches in dozens of cities, with protesters facing freezing temperatures. All together about 350 people were detained across Russia, according to OVD Info, a group that monitors political repression in Russia.