Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny denounced President Vladimir Putin during his court appearance on Feb. 2, 2021. The penal service claims he failed to adhere to his probation obligations; however, they claimed that his supposed poisoning could have happened in Germany. He was sentenced to serve 32 months in a penal colony, beginning immediately.
As he testified, he told the court that increasing Kremlin crackdowns would not intimidate his supporters. Outside of the courthouse, hundreds of Navalny’s supporters filled the sidewalks. One of the protesters, who had never protested before January 23, said:
What’s happening to Alexei now is beyond all limits.
Several thousand protesters rallied to his call; they marched in central Moscow and St. Petersburg. The demonstrators chanted “Russia without Putin” and “Freedom.” Like the last several days’ protests, some of the crowd was beaten with batons, and hundreds were arrested. Estimates indicate over 11,000 protesters have been detained since Navalny’s return from Germany and subsequent arrest.
Navalny reminded the court that he was poisoned with a chemical weapon smeared on his underwear. He said Putin would be remembered as “Vladimir the poisoner,” referring to the attack in Tomsk that almost took his life.
His focus for more than a decade has been to expose government corruption. Navalny’s latest video, “Putin’s Palace; History of the World’s Largest Bribe,” went viral with more than 100 million hits on YouTube. The video seems to have struck a nerve with the Kremlin. The allegation made of Putin’s enormous palace on the Black Sea gouges the leader’s image of a conservative traditionalist who claims to have the nation’s good at heart.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
CNN: Alexey Navalny handed new jail term as he denounces ‘Putin the prisoner;’ by Mary Ilyushina, Fred Pleitgen, and Angela Dewan
The Washington Post: Russian opposition leader Navalny ordered jailed, calls on supporters to keep pressure on Putin; by Isabelle Khurshudyan and Robyn Dixon
Featured and Top Image by Evgeny Feldman / Novaya Gazeta Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Bestalex Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License