A Moscow court found that President Vladimir Putin’s loudest critic had violated his parole. Aleksei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, was sentenced to more than two years in prison on Tuesday, a decision likely to send him to a far-flung penal colony for the first time.
The authorities have put several of his top allies under house arrest, and on Sunday they deployed a huge police presence in cities across Russia to quell protests calling for his release — some of the biggest street demonstrations of the Putin era.
“You cannot lock up the whole country,” Mr. Navalny told the court. He said the Russian president was angry at him for surviving after being poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok in August.
Accusations: Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Navalny had violated parole on a suspended prison sentence that he received in 2014. He and his brother were convicted of stealing from two companies, a conviction that the European Court of Human Rights called “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable.”
What’s next: The decision to send him to prison removes his direct voice from Russia’s political landscape, but it could energize his supporters and further rally Russian opposition to Mr. Putin around the figure of Mr. Navalny.
Courtesy – NYT