(Tribune News Service) — Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny said he’s expecting a “Stalinist” sentence when a court is due to give its verdict Friday in an “extremism” trial held inside a strict-regime prison.
“It’s going to be a huge sentence, what they call a ‘Stalinist’ sentence,” Navalny, said in a statement posted on his website. “They asked for 20 years so they’ll give 18 or something around that.”
President Vladimir Putin’s most outspoken critic faces almost certain conviction on charges of founding an “extremist” group and six other related criminal counts. Navalny, 47, said he expected a further case accusing him of “terrorism” to begin soon as well, aimed at keeping him in prison for a further 10 years.
He’s already serving a nine-year term for fraud and contempt of court that was imposed after he returned to Russia in early 2021 following treatment in Germany for a nerve-agent poisoning in Siberia that he and Western governments blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities denied responsibility. Navalny and his supporters have continued to face a relentless crackdown by the authorities since Putin ordered the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Putin is “trying to intimidate millions” by imposing harsh sentences on opposition activists, Navalny wrote to his supporters. “When the sentence is announced, please think about only one, really important thought — what else can I personally do to resist?”
©2023 Bloomberg News.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.