Navalny found guilty of additional bogus charges. UPDATE: Sentenced to 9 years

Navalny found guilty of additional bogus charges. UPDATE: Sentenced to 9 years
(AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Famous Kremlin critic and Russian political activist Alexei Navalny has been through a lot in the past few years. After being released from jail following a short stint on some politically motivated charges, he survived an assassination attempt that landed him in a German hospital for weeks when he was dosed with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Upon returning to Russia he was arrested and jailed again, ostensibly for missing a parole meeting while he was lying in a medically induced coma. As of today, he will likely be facing an even longer period of persecution because he was found guilty of embezzlement and “contempt of court” by a Russian judge. The prosecution has asked for an additional 13 years to be served in a more severe “strict regime” penal colony. (NY Post)

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny faces the prospect of spending a lot more time behind bars after being convicted Tuesday of embezzlement and contempt of court.

“Navalny committed fraud — the theft of property by an organized group,” Judge Margarita Kotova said, adding that he had committed a criminal offense by publicly insulting the court, according to Agence France-Presse.

The 45-year-old dissident is already serving a 2 ½-year sentence at a prison camp for parole violations related to old fraud charges he claims were fabricated to thwart his political ambitions.

These new charges were obviously just a way for Vladimir Putin to keep Navalny off the streets and prevent him from riling up his supporters. The supposed embezzlement charge claimed that he stole millions of dollars donated to his political organizations for his personal use. The government has yet to produce any documents supporting that assertion.

He was also charged with “insulting the court” for having the temerity to publicly denounce his accusers and the bogus conviction he received the last time he was in court. Apparently, proclaiming your innocence after Vladimir Putin has decided you’re guilty of something can also land you in a forced labor camp. Prosecutors also asked for an additional fine of 1.2 million rubles. The good news for Navalny is that since the Russian economy completely imploded following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, that works out to a little more than 11,000 bucks.

It’s difficult to see a path to freedom or any sort of justice for Navalny in the current circumstances. Mad Vlad is clearly not in the mood to offer any compromises or relinquish an ounce of the iron grip he retains on power in Russia. Putin clearly has the ability to make any of his critics disappear whenever he feels like doing so and there is thus far no one willing to step up and challenge him.

We have been hearing some bizarre rumors on social media of some sort of mutiny inside of the FSB (the Russian Federal Security Service), but none of that has been substantiated. If true, there are members of Putin’s own government who are hoping for the west to directly intervene and shut Putin down. But even if that’s true, unless their members are truly massive in number, the mutineers will likely just wind up breaking big rocks into little ones alongside Navalny. And that’s assuming that they aren’t just eliminated in a terminal fashion immediately. There won’t be any direct military help coming from the NATO alliance against Putin and the dictator is well aware of this.

UPDATE: It’s being reported that the sentencing hearing happened very quickly and Navalny was given an additional nine years. That’s less than the prosecutors asked for, but it still keeps the dissident on ice for more than the next decade.

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Jazz Shaw 10:01 PM on June 07, 2023