Alexei Navalny urges supporters to ‘take to the streets’ as he is taken to prison
Navalny appeals to supporters from prison, urging them to overcome fear
Oppositionist calls suppression of protests a manifestation of weakness
While President Joe Biden demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny, the oppositionist himself called on his compatriots to overcome fear and “free” the country from a “bunch of thieves.”.
Navalny, who was sentenced this week to two years and eight months in prison, wrote on Instagram: “The iron doors slam shut behind me with a deafening clang, but I feel like a free man. Through the confidence that you are right. Thanks to your support. Thanks to the support of my family “.
The 44-year-old anti-corruption fighter was arrested January 17 after returning from Germany, where he was treated for five months after being poisoned with a nerve agent. Navalny himself blamed the assassination attempt on the Kremlin. Russian authorities deny their involvement and say they saw no evidence of poisoning despite tests by several European laboratories..
A Moscow court on Tuesday sent Navalny to jail, believing he had violated the terms of his probation while in Germany. The verdict is related to the embezzlement case from 2014, which the European Court of Human Rights found unfounded.
Navalny called the incident Putin’s personal revenge “for having survived, for daring to return”.
“But to an even greater extent, this is a message from Putin and his friends to the whole country:“ We saw how we can, eh? Let’s spit on the laws and roll into the horn of anyone who dares to go against us. We are the law, ”he wrote.
Last weekend and the weekend before last, protests in support of Navalny swept across 11 time zones in Russia, gathering tens of thousands of participants.
According to OVD-Info, police have arrested more than 10,000 demonstrators across Russia.
However, Navalny’s chief strategist, Leonid Volkov, who currently resides abroad, said on YouTube that the protests should be suspended until spring. He noted that the protesters won a “moral victory” and that trying to support rallies every weekend would only result in thousands of arrests and depletion of the ranks..
On Friday, Navalny again appeared in court in Moscow on charges of insulting a veteran of the Great Patriotic War. He called the case political revenge of the Kremlin.
The suppression of protests Navalny called a demonstration of weakness, saying that the government’s power is illusory, and urged Russians not to be afraid of it.
“They can only hold on to power, using it for personal enrichment, only by relying on our fear,” he wrote. – But we, having overcome fear, can free our homeland from a handful of thieves-occupiers. And let’s do it. Obliged to do. For yourself and future generations “.