Alexei Navalny, a critic of the Kremlin who is already serving time in jail, went on trial on Monday on allegations of “extremism” that may result in his sentence being prolonged for decades as part of broader government efforts to muzzle dissent.
More than a year has passed since Russia began its all-out onslaught in Ukraine, an event that brought in a fresh wave of legal actions against Moscow’s opponents; as a result, many of these individuals are now living in exile or in jail.
The 47-year-old seasoned opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin is being imprisoned at the highest security IK-6 penal colony located 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Moscow. An AFP correspondent who is there at the facility said that procedures were now ongoing.
Navalny is currently serving a nine-year jail term on embezzlement charges, which his supporters believe is a punishment for his political activities. In the past, Navalny was responsible for organizing enormous anti-Kremlin marches.
When he arrived in Moscow in 2021 from Germany, where he had been recuperating from a poisoning attack that he claimed was carried out by the Kremlin, he was immediately placed under prison.
It is now possible that Navalny may spend a further 30 years behind bars, despite the fact that he has lost a significant amount of weight while behind.
According to Navalny, the prosecutors gave him a document that was 3,828 pages long and detailed all of the alleged wrongdoings he did while he was incarcerated.
“Although it’s clear from the size of the tomes that I am a sophisticated and persistent criminal, it’s impossible to find out exactly what it is that I am accused of,” Navalny said.
Amongst other offenses, he has been accused with funding extremist activity, openly encouraging extremist behavior, and “rehabilitating the Nazi ideology.”
“Evaluated for work in politics.”
According to his legal team, despite the fact that he has been the subject of several legal proceedings, this is the first case that can be classified as politically motivated against him.
According to Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson for Navalny, “He is being tried for his political work,” which was said to AFP.
In April, Navalny stated that he had been informed that he will be tried by a military tribunal on “terrorism” allegations. According to him, he might be looking at a life sentence in jail.
His legal team claims that he has been subjected to harassment while incarcerated, and that he has been placed in a “punishment cell” for alleged infractions.
He said that jail officials subjected him and other detainees to “torture by Putin” by making them listen to the Kremlin chief’s speeches and that they forced him to share a cell with a sick inmate who smelled awful. He also claimed that the inmate was unwell.
The head of the opposition, who is also a trained lawyer, has taken the administration of the jail to court in an effort to maintain access to what he considers to be fundamental prisoner rights.
“Wake up in this hellhole,” the voice said.
He has also teased his jailers by stating that he has submitted formal requests for a balalaika and a kimono, as well as petitions for permission to keep a kangaroo and a May bug in jail. He has done this in an attempt to make his jailers laugh at him.
In early June, on the occasion of his third birthday while incarcerated, Navalny stated that he was “in a really good mood.”
“Of course, I wish I didn’t have to wake up in this hellhole and instead had the opportunity to have breakfast with my family, receive kisses on the cheek from my children, and unwrap presents.”
An extensive social media operation that produces films presenting proof of widespread corruption among Russian elites has been developed and maintained by Navalny.
Even now, his crew handles all of his social media interactions on his behalf.
In February, he stated that Moscow’s defeat in Ukraine was “inevitable” and that Russia had to compensate for Ukraine’s losses after the combat has ceased.
Navalny had established a nationwide network of campaign offices and intended to challenge Putin for the presidency in 2018, but electoral officials did not let him to do so.
In 2021, the offices of Navalny were labeled as “extremist” organizations, placing the staff, volunteers, and supporters of the organization at risk of being prosecuted.
Lilia Chanysheva, the chief of Navalny’s headquarters in the city of Ufa in central Russia, was given a sentence of seven and a half years in jail by a Russian court in the middle of the month of June.
The majority of high-profile activists who are remaining in Russia are currently imprisoned, notably Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin. The number of Russians who have been jailed for opposing the situation in Ukraine has reached the thousands.