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Navalny Protests Light Up
News Bytes 02/18/2021 25 Comments

Supporters of Alexei Navalny are lighting up the night. The imprisoned Russian dissident’s followers stepped outside their homes and shined their cellphone flashlights on Sunday. It was a display of unity, despite efforts by Russian authorities to douse the protests.

Navalny spent five months recovering in Germany from a nerve-agent poisoning. (See “Navalny Re-Arrested.”) Navalny blames his poisoning on the Kremlin. But the Russian government denies involvement and claims it has no evidence of Navalny’s poisoning.

Navalny has spent most of his adult life opposing the ongoing leadership of Vladimir Putin in Russia. He and his team believe his poisoning and his more recent arrest are tied to his growing popularity.

The team supporting the opposition leader announced a new protest format: shining cellphone flashlights. Over the weekend, Navalny’s supporters sent photos of small groups with lit-up cellphones in cities from Siberia to the Moscow region. It was unclear how many people participated overall.

No arrests were immediately reported. However, police detained nine people at a daytime demonstration in the city of Kazan. The activists were calling for the release of political prisoners.

The group says security guards at Moscow State University recorded the names of people leaving a dormitory to take part in a flashlight rally there.

Russian officials spent days trying to slander the protests. Officials accused Navalny’s allies of acting on NATO’s instructions. (NATO is an organization of allied European and North American countries.) Kremlin-backed TV channels claimed that flashlight rallies were part of major uprisings around the world. State news agencies cited unnamed sources as saying a terrorist group was plotting attacks during unapproved mass protests.

The suppression attempts represent a change of tactics for Russian authorities, who used to simply ignore Navalny.

Weekend protests erupted in scores of Russian cities last month over Navalny’s detention. They represented the largest outpouring of popular discontent in years. The unrest appears to have rattled the Kremlin. Police reportedly arrested about 10,000 people. Many demonstrators were beaten, while state media sought to downplay the scale of the protests.

In recent days, official media coverage focused on the flashlights-in-courtyards protest, accusing Navalny ally Leonid Volkov of acting on instructions from his Western handlers.

“The Kremlin is awfully scared of the flashlight action,” because such a peaceful, light-hearted event allows the opposition to build a rapport with new supporters, Volkov says. “I saw many posts on social media [saying], ‘When Navalny’s headquarters announced the flashlight rally, I thought what nonsense . . . But when I saw the Kremlin’s reaction, I realized they were right to come up with it.’”

(People draw hearts with cellphone flashlights in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia Navalnaya in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday, February 14, 2021. AP/Pavel Golovkin)

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Most recent comments

1st comment

Wow I had no idea the hearts were just the lights from the phones! I thought they had made or bought heart shaped lights :-P I wonder how he was poisoned, I mean, what is nerve-agent poisoning?

Mirela J: Looked it up for

Mirela J: Looked it up for you, here it is. Nerve agent. Poisoning by a nerve agent leads to constriction of pupils, profuse salivation, convulsions, and involuntary urination and defecation, with the first symptoms appearing in seconds after exposure. Death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest may follow in minutes due to the loss of the body's control over respiratory and other muscles.

3rd comment

Ok.... I guess that it kind of a cool way to protest.
@Mirela: Yeah! So how they do that is the photographer uses a REALLY slow shutterspeed, so that the shutter takes a few seconds to close instead of 600/1 seconds or whatever else you set it at. So then it captures the light blur as they make the hearts. Let me tell you, to get a picture to look like that is REALLY REALLY REALLY complicated! I haven't mastered it yet! :) So congrats to the photographer! :)

P.S. This is Caro


This is so lame... I mean,

This is so lame... I mean, why be scared?

@ Carys

That sounds worse than I thought it would be!

@ Riley

I know NOTHING about photography! What do you mean by 600/1 seconds? I sound so dumb right now! It’s just that photography is a subject I have learnt nothing about!

this is mylee

they probaly just took the picture and put it on edit mode and drew the hearts. I've done hat with lots of pictures nothing to do with photography XD. That is sad how he got nerve poison in him :(. Did anyone watch world watch its so true we texans aren't use to this weather pipes are froze and some ppl's eletriciy is off. They are thinking about turning our towns power off too :(. Good thing we have wood.

This is London

I feel like they just got a flashlight and waved in around in a ❤️ motion


One six hundredth of a second. That is how fast the shutter closes and opens. That is okay I used to know nothing as well, but I have become really interested and have had a few lessons from some professional friends/relatives.
@Mylee. Well, I guess that could be possible. I have never done that before though I try to get it all in my original picture with the camera!

I'm thankful we live in a

I'm thankful we live in a country that we can state our values clearly with being afraid of being arrested.

This is London

I have a Polaroid but I rly want a good camera. My friend and I were playing in the snow and she dropped her camera somewhere we searched for a long time and couldn’t find anything she said we are going to have to wait until the snow melts. It’s up to, like halfway between my ankle and knees ☹️

That is how you protest

That is how you protest people.

I heard about him like last

I heard about him like last year reading WORLD, but didn't follow much on him. I am also 1/2 Russian.


Did anybody hear about Pyra and Mythra being added to smash?




That one works! I think this is a cool way to protest, and @Micah- I think the Kremlin is scared because they can't do anything about it, because these people aren't being violent. It gets to the media because it's peaceful protesting and isn't breaking the law, so they can really just do it as much as they want as long as they don't show their faces or get caught.

Still trying emojis...


☞I'm pointing!
☜Now I'm Pointing the other way!



this is mylee

i am on a computer so some emojis that i see on here like the ones above are black and white and small. But some like the frown face and the heart show up.

... when is it coming?

I’m just waiting for today’s article. I think it might be about Perseverance, NASA landing on Mars. We watched it yesterday. It was quite interesting.


I am waiting too! They are always SO SLOW at putting the World Watch on. It gets kinda annoying.

that is really cool how they

that is really cool how they just used their phones

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