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Anti-Putin leader Alexei Navalny one of 1600 arrested

Anti-Putin leader Alexei Navalny one of 1600 arrested

Among those arrested was protest organizer Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is Putin's most prominent foe.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was galvanising a protest against incumbent President Putin, whose second inauguration ceremony will begin on Monday, when he was seized by police in Moscow.

Navalny was detained in Moscow where he was attending a demonstration organised by him against the inauguration of the Russian president.

Thousands took part in the rally in Moscow's Pushkinskaya Square, where some protesters were detained by police and thrown into buses as the crowd chanted anti-Putin slogans.

Putin won a landslide re-election victory in March, extending his grip over Russian Federation for six more years until 2024, making him the longest-lasting leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin who ruled for almost 30 years.

Shoigu regularly appears next to Putin during state ceremonies, fishing trips or while tracking tigers in the Russian Far East.Internationally respected since his appointment as foreign minister in 2004, Sergei Lavrov has appeared exhausted in recent years, a particularly turbulent time for Russia's ties with the West.An inflexible negotiator, the 68-year-old continues to defend Moscow's position around the world, expressing himself nearly daily on the Ukrainian and Syrian crises.An old friend of Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin heads the state-owned oil company Rosneft which he has transformed into a global giant in the face of mounting personal criticism.Often called Russia's second most powerful man, Sechin seems untouchable.

Elsewhere, many protesters were also detained in a rough manner, observers said.

Pro-Putin counterprotestors have also reportedly taken to the streets.

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The council said "279 of them were Muscovites and 379 - from other towns". Dozens of participants in the rallies have been arrested along with Navalny, with one source telling Russian pro-democracy group OVD-Info that as many as 50 arrests were made in the city of Krasnoyarsk.

"There is a big chunk of people who don't agree with what's happening in the country, who didn't go out to vote, and who don't consider the elections legitimate", she said.

The 65-year-old has governed Russian Federation for 18 years, serving six years as Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012 and the rest as President.

The authorities regard most of the protests as illegal, arguing that their time and place was not agreed with them beforehand.

Putin has dismissed Navalny as a troublemaker bent on sowing chaos on behalf of Washington.

Mr Navalny and his supporters have legitimate concerns about the direction President Putin is taking their country and should be allowed to voice them.

The event gathered a lot of supporters in many Russian cities.

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