Russia could witness protests this spring surpassing those that rocked the country following the arrest and jailing of Alexei Navalny, an ally of the Kremlin critic has said.
It comes amid local media reports that Navalny, who is serving a 2.5-year jail term, has been taken from his prison colony in the Vladimir region to an undisclosed location.
By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 400,000 people had registered their intention on the "Free Navalny" website to attend demonstrations in support of the Putin critic.
This suggests that bigger protests are in store and points to a significant problem for Putin, who faces waning popularity and parliamentary elections in September.
Navalny was arrested upon his arrival from Berlin, where he was treated for poisoning by the Novichok nerve agent.
"Putin tried to kill Navalny" says the Free Navalny website, "but Alexei survived—and then Putin threw him in jail.
The graphic below provided by Statista shows how long Putin has been in power. »