This past weekend, Russian interest in opposition movements and themes matched levels observed around other major protests. Opposition firebrand Alexey Navalny called for a day of protest under the banner, 'He is no Tsar to Us,' on the eve of Vladimir Putin's fourth inauguration as President of the Russian Federation. Driving interest overall was traffic on pages covering freedom of assembly, previous significant protests, and domestic security services.
Despite relatively low turnout, police responded severely to the protests, arresting around 1,600 people. At one point in Moscow, riot police began detaining anyone chanting a slogan or holding a banner. Accordingly, local online attention to Russia's riot police over the weekend was as high as it was at the height of a prior wave of Navalny-led rallies last year.
Despite Monday's carefully orchestrated inauguration, elevated protest interest coupled with authorities' sharp crackdown suggest long-simmering discontent may reach a boiling point as Putin begins his new six-year term.