Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny faces 9 more years in Russian prison


Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

Photo: AP

It seems that dissent is no longer an option in Vladimir Poutineit’s Russia as Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was sentenced to an additional nine years in a high-security prison in Moscow after a Russian court found him guilty of additional charges. Navalny will serve his new sentence in a strict regime penal colony, which will put him in much harsher conditions. Navalny was due to be released in a year and a half, but he will now have to stay put for another eight years.

In a post shared on Instagram, Navalny said: “Putin is afraid of the truth, I have always said that. Fighting against censorship, transmitting the truth to the Russian people has always remained our priority.

After Navalny’s initial imprisonment, more than a thousand protesters were arrested and more than fifty journalists injured in the protests that followed. The protests called for Putin’s resignation. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no sign of stepping down or addressing the speech in his country. After his arrest, Navalny’s political organizations across the country were declared “extremist” and shut down, while key aides fled Russia.

Also read: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison by Russian court

Putin has exercised executive control of the Russian Federation since 1999. He was first appointed prime minister, but soon after was elected president and served two consecutive six-year terms. Constitutionally restricted to being elected for only two consecutive terms, Putin served as prime minister until 2012, when he was re-elected president and is currently serving his second term. So how does Putin stay in power after his second consecutive term?

Until July 4, 2020; Putin was constitutionally limited to two consecutive presidential terms, but that changed after he introduced a constitutional referendum in early 2020. The referendum, if passed, would allow Putin to run for two more consecutive six-term presidential elections. The referendum was held by popular vote and although accusations of fraud and coercion were reportedly reported, the referendum passed with 78.56% of voters accepting the amendments to the constitution. Needless to say, Putin will be running for re-election in the 2024 presidential elections. But is there anyone with firm support to oppose Putin in 2024?

Speaking to an unnamed Russian source, the source said that “many older generation people still support Putin because they still see Russia as part of the former Soviet Union and see Putin’s policies as those who can restore the nation as they see fit”. It has been reported that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not called a war or an invasion of the country, but rather a “special operation”.

Also read: Ukraine-Russia conflict: UN chief Guterres denounces ‘absurd and unwinnable war’ and expresses concern over global repercussions

The Wall Street Journal described Navalny as “the man Vladimir Putin fears most”, as it has been observed that Putin has never directly referred to Navalny by name. But even though Navalny may be the only individual who can give Putin a hard time, he has been barred from running in the 2024 election due to a previous criminal conviction which he says was politically motivated. to prevent him from holding an executive position.

In 2020, Alexei Navalny survived Novichok poisoning, an assassination attempt he blames on the Kremlin, due to which he was unable to appear before the police in accordance with his previous conviction. Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin denied any involvement in the assassination attempt.

Navalny was jailed for two and a half years on charges of violating his parole imposed on him following a 2014 conviction. The 2014 case concerns alleged embezzlement in a case of fraud which Navalny says is fabricated by the center to silence him.

In addition, Navalny will also have to pay a fine of 1.2 million rubles ($11,500) and upon his release he will have to abide by various restrictions on his movements and activities for another 1.5 years.

International bodies and countries condemned Navalny’s manipulation and demanded his release, but the Russian Federation remained silent on the issue. The current scenario, especially with the 2020 constitutional referendum, has left Putin without substantial opposition and with the power to bid for the world’s largest country as he pleases.

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