MOSCOW — A ninth grader within the Russian metropolis of Yekaterinburg requested his classmates this week why it was that they didn’t like President Vladimir V. Putin.
Based on their instructor, Irina V. Skachkova, they responded by citing the jailed opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny: “Putin has a palace that was constructed with stolen cash, and Putin is himself a thief.”
Mr. Navalny’s dramatic return to Russia on Sunday and his speedy arrest, adopted by his launch of a video documenting Mr. Putin’s purported secret palace on the Black Sea, has captivated many younger Russians and prompted the authorities to scramble to maintain them away from protests deliberate throughout the nation on Saturday.
Ms. Skachkova, like many lecturers throughout Russia, mentioned she was informed by her superiors to provide you with counterprogramming for her college students on Saturday and to plead with dad and mom that they hold younger individuals from taking to the streets.
“Chasing media consideration, THEY are placing KIDS in DANGER!” mentioned the message that she mentioned she was informed to ship out to oldsters’ discussion groups.
Some universities threatened college students with expulsion in the event that they had been caught attending the protests calling for Mr. Navalny’s launch, that are being organized in dozens of cities throughout Russia regardless that native officers haven’t approved them.
The Schooling Ministry urged households to spend the weekend doing nonpolitical actions like “taking a stroll in a park or a forest.” Russia’s telecommunications regulator mentioned it had ordered social networks to take down posts selling the Saturday protests, and the nation’s prime investigative physique mentioned it had began a felony investigation into the alleged incitement of minors to affix.
Nevertheless it was removed from clear that the federal government’s push to dissuade younger individuals from protesting would have a lot of an influence — and there have been indications that it has raised much more consciousness concerning the deliberate demonstrations.
On YouTube, Mr. Navalny’s 113-minute-long report about Mr. Putin’s palace — which the Kremlin has denied — remained among the many prime trending movies in Russia for the fourth day in a row, with a complete of greater than 57 million views. On the social community TikTok, which is in style with younger individuals, the hashtag devoted to Saturday’s protests remained accessible, and movies tagged with it had been considered greater than 125 million occasions.
“I do know for sure that there are various good individuals exterior my jail, and that backup is on its method,” Mr. Navalny mentioned in a message from jail that was posted on his Instagram web page on Friday.
Mr. Navalny’s supporters say the dimensions of Saturday’s protests can be essential in figuring out his destiny. The 44-year-old opposition chief fell right into a coma after a near-fatal poisoning in Siberia final August and was airlifted to Germany for therapy. Western officers say he was poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent in an assassination try by the Russian state.
Russian authorities denied the assertion and promised to arrest Mr. Navalny if he returned to Russia for violating the parole phrases of a suspended sentence he obtained in 2014.
However, Mr. Navalny flew house to Moscow on Sunday, and as anticipated, he was detained at passport management. He now faces a jail sentence — and his supporters say that solely avenue protests can deter the Kremlin from locking him up for years.
Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin press secretary, informed reporters Friday that it was “unacceptable” that unauthorized avenue protests had been being deliberate and that “younger individuals, youngsters and so forth” had been being invited to participate. Mr. Navalny’s supporters mentioned they weren’t particularly calling on youngsters to affix the protests.
Forward of the protests, the police have additionally detained Mr. Navalny’s supporters throughout Russia. Kira Yarmysh, Mr. Navalny’s press secretary, was ordered jailed for 9 days on Friday.
However the seemingly Sisyphean scramble by the Russian authorities to get social networks to take away pro-Navalny content material highlighted what’s more and more rising as a significant vulnerability for the Kremlin: the supply of low-cost, high-speed, principally uncensored web entry in nearly each populated nook of the nation’s 11 time zones.
The federal government has tried and largely did not rein within the web. Final yr, for instance, it dropped a two-year-long effort to dam the messaging community Telegram, a ban that customers rapidly discovered methods to avoid.
On Friday, Russia’s telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, mentioned that YouTube, Instagram and the Russian social community VKontakte had begun following an order from Russia’s prosecutor-general that they take away “calls for youngsters to take part in unlawful mass occasions.” The social networks didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
However the greatest downside, the regulator mentioned, was TikTok, the Chinese language-owned app that hosts seconds-long viral movies, usually musically themed. Movies marked with the #Navalny hashtag on the community had been considered greater than 800 million occasions by Friday.
In a single clip “preferred” greater than 500,000 occasions, a younger girl who supplies pithy English classes supplied tips about methods to sound like an American — “I’m gonna name my lawyer!” — if detained on the protests.
“The very best stage of exercise continues on the social community,” Roskomnadzor mentioned in a press release, referring to TikTok. “New appeals are showing, in some instances being disseminated in a man-made method.”
The regulator mentioned TikTok had eliminated 38 % of unlawful content material. TikTok didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Throughout the nation, in line with native information media stories, faculties and universities had been scheduling exams or festivities on Saturday to stop college students from attending. A state college within the metropolis of Kostroma north of Moscow warned college students that by collaborating in protests, “you’ll destroy your repute and solid a shadow in your college.”
That prompted outraged responses on social media and, in line with one scholar, solely served to encourage others to contemplate attending.
“I do know individuals who didn’t plan on going wherever, after which once they heard about these bans, they determined to search out out what it was they had been being prohibited from doing after which mentioned they wished to take part within the protests,” mentioned Kirill Prokofiev, a grasp’s scholar in historical past.
Adam Satariano contributed reporting from London.