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While police beat unarmed protesters at Moscow, Vladimir Putin watches Russian Navy’s biggest parade in years

Vladimir Putin led Russia’s 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 Russia’s military might which came shortly after serious questions have been raised about the capacity of Great Britain’s Royal Navy.

Putin and Russian military generals were all smiles after watching the Russian fleet parade as part of the Navy Day celebration.

Sukhoi Su-25sm jet aircraft fly over during the impressive military parade which exhibited the strength of Russia’s navy and military

The Tatarsna missile ship (right) of the Russian Navy's Caspian Flotilla is lined with sailors standing to attention on the Volga River

The Tatarsna missile ship (right) of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla is lined with sailors standing to attention on the Volga River

The parade was the biggest in years, included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops the day after violence erupted in Moscow

The parade was the biggest in years, included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops the day after violence erupted in Moscow

Britain’s 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.

Britain’s ability to defend itself was exposed following Iran seizing the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz.

It represents a stark contrast to Russia’s 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.

Yesterday’s protests showed how Kremlin critics and especially younger people remain intent on pressing to open Russia’s 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.

Jet fighters perform a flyover during the impressive parade today off the Gulf of Finland and let off streams of colourful smoke

Jet fighters perform a flyover during the impressive parade today off the Gulf of Finland and let off streams of colourful smoke.

A replica of the Russian Navy Poltava 54-gun battleship is anchored on the Neva River during the day of celebrations

A replica of the Russian Navy Poltava 54-gun battleship is anchored on the Neva River during the day of celebrations

Putin was also flanked by Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu (dressed in green). Today's parade, the biggest in years, included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops

Putin was also flanked by Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu (dressed in green). Today’s parade, the biggest in years, included 43 ships and submarines and 4,000 troops

Putin was spending the weekend away from Moscow, the Russian capital, where nearly 1,400 people were detained Saturday in a violent police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Above: The Karakurt-class corvette, named 'Sovetsk' arrives in the Gulf of Finland, in St Petersburg, for today's parade

Putin was spending the weekend away from Moscow, the Russian capital, where nearly 1,400 people were detained Saturday in a violent police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Above: The Karakurt-class corvette, named ‘Sovetsk’ arrives in the Gulf of Finland, in St Petersburg, for today’s parade

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, Navalny’s 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 Navalny’s 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.

A Russian group that monitors police arrests gave the figure Sunday, saying it was the largest number of detentions at a rally in the Russian capital this decade. Above: Sonya Class minesweeper the 'Pavel Khenov' arrives at the Navy Day parade

A Russian group that monitors police arrests gave the figure Sunday, saying it was the largest number of detentions at a rally in the Russian capital this decade. Above: Sonya Class minesweeper the ‘Pavel Khenov’ arrives at the Navy Day parade

The Navy Day parade in St Petersburg was established by order of president Putin in 2017 as the main anniversary event in connection with the celebrations. Above: The Korolev large landing ship takes part in the military parade

The Navy Day parade in St Petersburg was established by order of president Putin in 2017 as the main anniversary event in connection with the celebrations. Above: The Korolev large landing ship takes part in the military parade.

The parade also featured daring parachute jumps from Russian military personnel. The parade is an opportunity for president Putin to show off the latest weaponry at the disposal of his country’s navy

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 Saturday’s 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.

Elite members of the Russian navy parade their fearsome weapons in the air during the Navy Day celebrations

Elite members of the Russian navy parade their fearsome weapons in the air during the Navy Day celebrations.

The parade starts at 11am and as well as the main event in St Petersburg, parades are also held at other naval bases around the country

The parade starts at 11am and as well as the main event in St Petersburg, parades are also held at other naval bases around the country

Today's protest came after yesterday's protests in Moscow against , which saw 1,400 arrested by Russian police in what was one of the biggest crackdowns of recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition. Above: Putin stands alongside navy commander Nkolai Yevmenov (centre) and another navy officer

Today’s protest came after yesterday’s protests in Moscow against , which saw 1,400 arrested by Russian police in what was one of the biggest crackdowns of recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition. Above: Putin stands alongside navy commander Nkolai Yevmenov (centre) and another navy officer

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 Putin’s 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.

Russian president Vladimir Putin dived to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland yesterday aboard a submersible to explore a Soviet submarine which was sunk during World War Two

Russian president Vladimir Putin dived to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland yesterday aboard a submersible to explore a Soviet submarine which was sunk during World War Two

Among the Russian military assets on display was the Korolyov large landing ship, which was pictured releasing a BTR-82A amphibious armoured personnel carrier into the water in St Petersburg

Among the Russian military assets on display was the Korolyov large landing ship, which was pictured releasing a BTR-82A amphibious armoured personnel carrier into the water in St Petersburg.

Last month, Putin taunted the UK over the Tory leadership race by suggesting that Russia was more of a democracy than Britain. Above: The Russian president speaks with his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu as navy commander Yevmenov stands behind him

Last month, Putin taunted the UK over the Tory leadership race by suggesting that Russia was more of a democracy than Britain. Above: The Russian president speaks with his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu as navy commander Yevmenov stands behind him.

The Aleksin small anti-submarine ship was just one of the numerous vessels taking part in today's parade celebrating annual Navy Day

The Aleksin small anti-submarine ship was just one of the numerous vessels taking part in today’s parade celebrating annual Navy Day.

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 Navalny’s spokeswoman said he was being treated could not immediately be reached for comment.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, has served several stints in jail in recent years for organising anti-government demonstrations.

The European Court of Human Rights last year ruled that Russia’s arrests and detention of Navalny in 2012 and 2014 were politically-motivated and breached his human rights, a ruling Moscow called questionable.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, currently serving a jail stint for calling for unauthorised protests, was hospitalised after suffering an acute allergic reaction on Sunday. Above: Navalny appeared in a Moscow court last Wednesday afterbeing charged with unlawfully organising a public gathering

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, currently serving a jail stint for calling for unauthorised protests, was hospitalised after suffering an acute allergic reaction on Sunday. Above: Navalny appeared in a Moscow court last Wednesday afterbeing charged with unlawfully organising a public gathering

Navalny was jailed for 30 days this week for calling for an unauthorised march to protest against the exclusion of several opposition-minded candidates from a local election later this year

Navalny was jailed for 30 days this week for calling for an unauthorised march to protest against the exclusion of several opposition-minded candidates from a local election later this year

Police rounded up more than 1,000 people in the Russian capital at the march on Saturday in one of the biggest crackdowns of recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition decrying President Vladimir Putin's tight grip on power

Police rounded up more than 1,000 people in the Russian capital at the march on Saturday in one of the biggest crackdowns of recent years against an increasingly defiant opposition decrying President Vladimir Putin’s tight grip on power

Chants of 'Russia without Putin' and 'Putin resign' echoed through central Moscow as guardsmen clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people

Chants of ‘Russia without Putin’ and ‘Putin resign’ echoed through central Moscow as guardsmen clad in riot gear beat back protesters with batons and roughly detained people

Police wrestled with protesters around the mayor's office, sometimes charging into the crowd with their batons raised. OVD-Info, an organization that monitors political arrests in Russia , said 638 people were detained

Police wrestled with protesters around the mayor’s office, sometimes charging into the crowd with their batons raised. OVD-Info, an organization that monitors political arrests in Russia , said 638 people were detained

A riot police officer holds up an injured man with his camera still around his neck after he suffers a blow to the head during the protests yesterday

A riot police officer holds up an injured man with his camera still around his neck after he suffers a blow to the head during the protests yesterday

People take part in an unauthorized rally in support of rejected Moscow City Duma candidates held by Russian opposition in central Moscow, Russia, yesterday

People take part in an unauthorized rally in support of rejected Moscow City Duma candidates held by Russian opposition in central Moscow, Russia, yesterday

Police wrestled with protesters around the mayor's office, sometimes charging into the crowd with their batons raised

Police wrestled with protesters around the mayor’s office, sometimes charging into the crowd with their batons raised

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