EXPLAINER: How Russia has tried to stem pro-Navalny protests

MOSCOW (AP) — A prison sentence for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and a sweeping crackdown on protesters demanding his release reflect the Kremlin’s steely determination to fend off threats to its political monopoly at any cost. Russia has seen mass protests before, and it has used various tactics to confront them, ranging from offering concessions to violently cracking down. The current wave of demonstrations has spread across Russia’s 11-time zones, unlike previous protests that centered on Moscow. In response, Russian authorities have pulled out all the stops: threatening tough penalties for people who attend, peeling protesters off from the crowds and arresting them violently, putting opposition leaders in house arrest and using state media to try to discredit the demonstrators.