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Vladimir Putin watches Russian Navys biggest parade in years with 43 vessels and 4,000 troops

Vladimir Putin watches Russian Navys biggest parade in years with 43 vessels and 4,000 troops


Vladimir Putin watches Russian Navys biggest parade in years with 43 vessels and 4,000 troops Vladimir Putin led Russias first major naval parade in years today, the day after a violent police crackdown on anti government protesters in Moscow. The Russian President went aboard one of the vessels in the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland. The parade, the biggest in years, included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops. The parade included impressive displays of Russian ships and jets, as well as parachutists and missile launches. It was an impressive show of Russias military might which came shortly after serious questions have been raised about the capacity of Great Britains Royal Navy.  Britains Royal Navy has only ordered one aircraft carrier, a handful of offshore patrol vessels, five submarines, and a single new frigate for the next decade as a report says its force will get even smaller. Britains ability to defend itself was exposed following Iran seizing the UK flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz. A second Royal Navy warship arrived in the Gulf today to protect British merchant ships amid the stand off with . HMS Duncan will add military clout to cargo carriers and tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz where the British flagged Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards last week. The Type 45 Destroyer will work with the Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose until late August. But Britains diminishing fleet represents a stark contrast to Russias defensive arsenal which was proudly on display in St. Petersburg today.  Putin was spending the weekend away from the Russian capital where nearly 1,400 pro democracy protesters were detained yesterday.  A Russian group that monitors police arrests said it was the largest number of detentions at a rally in the Russian capital this decade. Police wielded batons and wrestled with protesters around the Moscow City Hall after thousands thronged nearby streets, rallying against a move by election authorities to bar opposition candidates from the Sept. 8 ballot for the Moscow city council.   Yesterdays protests showed how Kremlin critics and especially younger people remain intent on pressing to open Russias tightly choreographed political system to competition. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had called the protest to persuade officials to allow opposition minded candidates to run in a September 8 vote. Authorities say they were barred because they failed to collect sufficient genuine signatures in their support. Navalny and his allies have no seats in parliament and are starved of air time on state TV where many Russians still get their news.  And today, Navalny, who is serving a stint in jail for calling the unauthorised protests, was hospitalised after suffering an acute allergic reaction on Sunday, his spokeswoman said.   He was jailed for 30 days this week for calling for the march against the exclusion of several opposition minded candidates from a local election later this year.  Kira Yarmysh, Navalnys spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter that Navalny had been hospitalised on Sunday morning with severe swelling of the face and skin redness.  She said the cause of Navalnys allergic reaction was unknown and that he had never had suffered from such reactions in the past.  Chants of Russia without Putin and Putin resign had echoed through central Moscow yesterday as guardsmen clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people.  At least one woman and a man appeared to have suffered serious head wounds. Activists said the crackdown was the harshest since a wave of anti Kremlin protests in 2011 12. Opinion polls in the past have shown support for Navalny, a lawyer and anti corruption activist, only in the single digits.  But backers note he won almost a third of the vote in a 2013 Moscow mayoral race and say his movement could build momentum in the Russian capital if allowed to compete fairly. OVD Info, an independent monitoring group, said police detained at least 1,373 people before or at Saturdays protest. As in past sweeps, many were only held for a matter of hours. Police put participation at more than 3,500 people, of whom it said around 700 people were journalists and bloggers. Activists said the number attending was likely to have been much higher.  Some activists were arrested twice after being released and then returning to protest in a different place. Reuters witnesses said some of those detained appeared to be ordinary passersby in the wrong place at the wrong time. Though Putins approval rating is still high at well over 60 percent, it is lower than it used to be due to discontent over years of falling incomes.  Last year, the 66 year old former KGB intelligence officer won a landslide re election and a new six year term until 2024. Burnishing his man of action image, Putin spent Saturday diving to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland in a mini submarine to honour a Soviet submarine that sunk there in World War Two.   The Shchuka class submarine Shch 308 sank in October 1942 near the island of Gogland, west of St Petersburg, the Russian capital. In scenes which made Mr Putin appear like a villain from a James Bond film, Mr Putin was pictured smiling in the underwater craft, a C Explorer 3.11 submersible. Its airtight glass bubble protected Mr Putin, who first became Russian president in 1999 and has continuously ruled the country since 2012. The Russian Interior Ministry and the Moscow hospital where Navalnys spokeswoman said he was being treated could not immediately be reached for comment. Navalny, Russias most prominent opposition figure, has served several stints in jail in recent years for organising anti government demonstrations. 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