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Kremlin critic Navalny urges action against Putin regime after being jailed for nine years

The opposition leader was convicted of fraud and contempt of court.

RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER Alexei Navalny has urged people to take action against the “deceitful and thievish” regime of President Vladimir Putin after being sentenced to nine years in a maximum security prison.

The Russian opposition leader, one of Putin’s most vocal critics, was convicted of fraud and contempt of court.

A Russian judge also ruled that Navalny would have to pay a fine of 1.2 million roubles (€8,285).

His associates have said the new trial was intended to keep Navalny behind bars for as long as possible. He can appeal the ruling. 

Following the conviction, tweets were posted on Navalny’s Twitter account calling for action against the “war criminals” of Putin’s regime.

Navalny, who was previously the victim of a nerve agent poisoning, is founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and his website says he has already been in prison for 428 days.

Tweets posted on his Twitter account today said: “As I said in my ‘last word’, we are not just continuing the operations of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, we are going to take them to a new level.

“The ACF will become a global international organization. And we really need you in it.”

He said the money given to him by the European Parliament as part of the Sakharov Prize will be the first contribution to the fund.

“EU citizens, via their representatives, gave me this award for the fight against corruption. I am grateful and I’m allocating their money to continue this fight,” he said.

Navalny said on his Twitter account that Putin is “afraid of the truth”, adding: “Fighting against censorship and bringing the truth to the people of Russia has remained our priority.

“The Kremlin smashes the media, and in response we create new ones.”

The Twitter thread added: “I am very grateful to everyone for their support. And, guys, I want to say: the best support for me and other political prisoners is not sympathy and kind words, but actions.

“Any activity against the deceitful and thievish Putin’s regime. Any opposition to these war criminals.

“In 2013, after hearing my first verdict, I wrote this and now I will repeat it: don’t be idle. This toad sitting on an oil pipe will not overthrow itself.

“I hug and love everyone!”

russia-navalny Alexei Navalny, centre, seen via a video link during today's court session in Pokrov, Vladimir region, about 62 miles east of Moscow. PA PA

Navalny also tweeted: “9 years. Well, as the characters of my favorite TV series ‘The Wire’ used to say: ‘You only do two days. That’s the day you go in and the day you come out’.

“I even had a T-shirt with this slogan, but the prison authorities confiscated it, considering the print extremist.”

Navalny was accused of embezzling money that he and his foundation raised over the years, and of insulting a judge during a previous trial.

The politician has rejected the allegations as politically motivated. The prosecution had asked for 13 years in a maximum security prison for the anti-corruption crusader and a 1.2 million-rouble fine.

The trial, which opened about a month ago, unfolded in a makeshift courtroom in the prison colony hours away from Moscow where Navalny is serving a sentence for parole violations.

Navalny’s associates have criticised the authorities’ decision to move the proceedings there from a courthouse in Moscow, saying it effectively limited access to the proceedings for the media and supporters.

The 45-year-old has appeared at hearings wearing prison garb and made several elaborate speeches during the trial, decrying the charges against him as bogus.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 immediately upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months convalescing from a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin, a claim Russian officials vehemently denied.

Shortly after the arrest, a court sentenced him to two and a half years in prison over the parole violations stemming from a 2014 suspended sentence in a fraud case that Navalny insists was politically driven.

Following Navalny’s imprisonment, authorities unleashed a sweeping crackdown on his associates and supporters.

His closest allies have left Russia after facing multiple criminal charges, and his Foundation for Fighting Corruption and a network of nearly 40 regional offices were outlawed as extremist – a designation that exposes people involved to prosecution.

Last month, Russian officials added Navalny and a number of his associates to a state registry of extremists and terrorists.

Several criminal cases have been launched against Navalny individually, leading his associates to suggest the Kremlin intends to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.

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