Russian Authorities Arrest 17 Protesters in Moscow

At least 17 people, included journalists, were detained Friday in Moscow, after protesting in front of the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters over criminal charges leveled against a Russian journalist.

Prosecutors in Pskov requested a six-year prison term for Svetlana Prokopyeva, who wrote an article on the blast outside a branch of Russia's FSB in Arkhangelsk in 2018.

People have gathered here today because the prosecutors have asked for an impossible six years of prison for her article,” said journalist Irina Dolinina. “But they can't express their opinion because they are detained and taken to the police car before they can take out their banners."

Protesters have expressed fear that Prokopyeva's case could be followed by more repression in the country, as people are unable to freely protest because the coronavirus restrictions are still in effect.

"Hereafter the society will be decaying, and the repressions will strengthen until people start expressing their anger,” said Moscow resident Alexander Matskevich. “I don't know how far it (the repression) can go. We have an example of North Korea. I doubt anyone wants to have the same here."

Russian authorities had identified the attacker in Arkhangelsk as a local 17-year-old man and treated the case as an act of terrorism.

In her article, Prokopyeva wrote that the attacker's motives were linked to the political climate in Russia.

After the publication, authorities accused Prokopyeva of publicly justifying terrorism.

The court is expected to announce the final verdict on Monday. 

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