Navalny back in jail, handed 2½ year term for “violation of probation”

February 2, 2021 • 12:45 pm

It’s bad enough that Putin’s government, perhaps on the orders of Putin himself, tried to kill dissident Alexei Navalny by poisoning him. But now, after Navalny was detained on January 17 after a brave return to Russia, he’s been handed another 2.5-year jail sentence for violating his probation (he was convicted in 2014 of trumped-up charges of embezzlement).  Apparently he’ll spend that time in a “penal colony.”

But the kicker is that during the five months he spent in Berlin, much of it recovering from the poison, he apparently didn’t report his whereabouts to the parole officers.

CNN reports:

Navalny was detained two weeks ago upon his return to Moscow from Berlin, accused of failing to meet his parole terms under a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement — a case he has dismissed as politically motivated.

Navalny was handed a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence in the 2014 case along with five years of probation. The court on Tuesday ruled that he violated the terms of his probation and order his suspended sentence to be replaced with a prison term. The judge took into account the 11 months Navalny spent under house arrest as part of the case.

. . . In court, Navalny demanded to know how he could have better informed authorities of his whereabouts while comatose.

“Can you explain to me how else I was supposed to fulfill the terms of my probation and notify where I am?” he said from his glass enclosure in the courtroom.

A prison service representative responded by asking why he had not provided documents to explain the serious reasons that prevented him from showing up for inspections.

“Coma?” Navalny shot back. “Why are you sitting here and telling the court you didn’t know where I was? I fell into a coma, then I was in the ICU, then in rehabilitation. I contacted my lawyer to send you a notice. You had the address, my contact details. What else could I have done to inform you?” he said.

The Russians certainly knew where Navalny was; the whole world’s media reported on it and Navalny’s lawyers informed the Russian government.

Of course this sentence, and the ludicrous reasons for it, will further inflame Navalny’s supporters and Putin’s detractors, who have been taking to the streets by the thousands during the last few days.

Putin is between a rock and a hard place on this one. If Navalny stays in jail, the protests will continue. Putin will be forced to put them down, and that will simply produce more protests. If Navalny is set free and put back on probation, he’ll be free to continue calling out the corruption and perfidy of the Putin autocracy. They could exile him, but I doubt he’d take that offer. Navalny, to his great credit, remains defiant:

In a separate outburst, Navalny described Putin as a “little thieving man in his bunker” who “doesn’t want me to set foot on the ground in Russia.”

“The reason for this is the hatred and fear of one person who is hiding in the bunker.

I’ve offended him so deeply by the fact that I’ve survived,” Navalny charged.

When a prosecutor tried to object, Navalny snapped back: “I don’t need your objections.”

“He can pretend he is this big politician, the world leader, but now my main offense to him is that he will go down in history as Putin the Poisoner. There was Alexander the Liberator and Yaroslav the Wise, and there will be Vladimir the Poisoner of Underpants,” Navalny added.

“He is not engaging in geopolitics, he holds meetings on how to smear underwear with chemical weapons.”

Re the last sentence: Navalny got another Russian operative to admit that they poisoned him, Navalny, by smearing the deadly poison in his underpants.

We are certainly seeing the rare spectacle of a very brave man who cares more about his cause than his life. And what I hope we’re also seeing is the beginning of the end for Putin.

My kingdom for a horse!  (Photo: Alexsey Druginyn/AFP/Getty Images)

24 thoughts on “Navalny back in jail, handed 2½ year term for “violation of probation”

  1. Our contact and treatment of Putin will return to how he handles this internal issue. Hopefully we will be able to further isolate him and screw him into the ground. As our legal agencies get further into Trump’s real involvement with Putin, how much Russian money he was getting and all the details this may also come back to Putin and put more punishment on him.

    1. One would wish investigations will find nefarious dealings between Trump and Putin. But I don’t hold much hope for evidence being slam-dunk. And slam-dunk evidence would be needed for any kind of political damage over here against Trump. Nothing less will do. But even if that were to come to pass, I don’t see how that would harm Putin domestically.

      1. The investigations I am referring to have nothing to do with politics. Trump is no longer a politician with any protections. I am talking the criminal investigations that are going on and will go on. Damage to Putin is from our govt. and other governments against him financially and his rich friends. If they find money laundering alone against Trump that can put him in prison.

  2. It’s bad enough that Putin’s government, perhaps on the orders of Putin himself, tried to kill dissident Alexei Navalny by poisoning him.

    I don’t think there’s any “perhaps” about it; I can’t imagine anyone in Russia taking it upon himself to try to murder such a high-profile enemy of Vladimir Putin’s except upon Putin’s orders.

    I also get the feeling for the first time that Putin’s iron grip on absolute power in Russia is in danger of slipping.

    Navalny is the real deal.

    1. Yes sir. The people are often the only way to dispose of a dictator. For a while there I thought it might be true of Trump but he just missed out on achieving full Putin status. When Marcos had to leave the Philippines it was kind of like that but we provided the transportation out and the place to go, Hawaii. He even got to do some shopping at the PX at Hickam. We often put them in and take them out it seems.

    2. Or to kiss Putin’s ass. As his goons in the biker gangs say, having Putin as your friend is like having God protect you. This played out with the assassination of the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya (who had her own bout of poisoning before being shot) most likely ordered by then Prime Minister of Chechnya, Kadyrov, on Putin’s birthday.

  3. The protestors against Putin are a great example of what the late John Lewis called “good trouble.” And Navalny is one impressive human being–more power to him!

  4. In the West, one can be sentenced to prison for driving while under the influence (DUI). In the land of Sovereign Democracy, failing to register with a parole officer while comatose evidently calls for mandatory prison time.

    The Russian judiciary is under the control of Putin’s kleptocracy to a degree beyond parody. Recall the different behavior of the US judges who dismissed Trump’s dozens of ludicrous suits against the 2020 election process. Apparently, the independent judiciary is a thing , in contemporary parlance, and we have it, whereas the Russian Federation does not.

  5. From what I understand from Russians who hate Putin – left the country because of him – the idea of Navalny running the place terrifies them even more. Apparently it is possible to be worse than Putin.

  6. BBC says Navalny is, or at least started out as a rightwing racist nationalist. He got a 6-7 year sentence for embezzlement in some kind of timber operation in c. 2012. This was later reduced to a 3 1/2 year sentence with some kind of parole. The Russian courts said Navalny broke his parole conditions when he went to Germany for medical treatment. His jail time was reduced to 2 1/2 years because he had already served a year under house arrest. The last word was that the agent used on Navalny was not a known poison.
    For me, the only advantage Navalny has over Putin is that he speaks good English and can lie and defame his enemies directly to the American press and people without going through a translator. Navalny also seems pretty wealthy himself. Where did he get all his cash? By my book, they are probably all crooks, but Putin gets 70% of the vote (80+% in Crimea, without shenanigans), and most Russians seem to actually like him. That too matters.
    Somehow I suspect deep down that the real reasons Western elites and their spokesmen, media outlets, etc. want to do in Putin and tame Russia — like the Soviet Union before it — are, in its essential core, those that motivated Napoleon and Hitler.

    1. Partly agree. Navalny is no angel and anti-corruption talk is just an easy way of garnering support, look at the anti-corruption agenda of the Ukrainian Maidan protests and what the first post-Maidan government looked like, the same corrupt Ukrainian ways as before. Not to speak of the Bandera worshipping militias that supported them. Navalny had a “foundation”, I suspect this was a payment channel for the people behind him, who may either be oligarchs out of favor with Putin or foreign governments.
      Putin is better than Yeltsin, that’s why Russians who lived through the collapse and cleptocratic excesses of the Yeltsin era support Putin. The younger generation, who remembers neither the Soviet Union nor Yeltsin, is taking to the streets, though. I don’t think he has a majority of 70 % now, probably still a majority, but it’s hard to know. The past years weren’t easy, with COVID, low fossil fuel prices for Russian exports and having to support Crimea.

  7. If I were a Putin-esque dictator, I would expel Navalny out of the country because he causes unrest and mischief, and disallow his return. That would remove what is immediately fueling the protests. Navalny would only then be able to try to sow dissent thru foreign media channels, but the Russian government has a fair amount of control over what leaks into the Motherland.

    1. That’s pretty much what Putin did with a bunch of oligarchs – took their TV stations and nationalized them and pretty much made staying in Russia expensive and not worth it unless they played ball.

  8. I expect the Putin regime to respond to the protests with brute force. Russians are brave to a fault but, still, I think brute force has a substantial chance to succeed. (And there are plenty of Russians who will admire Putin for it, not that that’s unique to Russia. Plenty of Americans admired Trump’s subtle and not so subtle appeals for violence.)

  9. Anybody on social media will have seen the angle of attack from the fascists and the defenders of the Nazis in the Kremlin – it is just to paint Navalny as a far right “Proud Boy” type, and, of course, ramble on about “what about Assange”.

    Block ’em on sight.

    1. Assange is nothing to be proud of (keeping him under 24/7 surveillance éven after the Swedes no longer wanted to pursue the charges, pressuring the Swedes to keep up the charges before that), nor is the silence of Western liberals to this UN-condemned human rights violation. All western indignation and media opinion pressure will not free Navalny (who is a brave man making an example of Putin by returning), but it might have freed Assange who actually wanted help. Much easier to stand up to foreign dictators far away than to one’s own secret service shenanigans.

  10. How exactly do your friends think Navalny would be worse? I’m pretty sure Navalny wouldn’t go to war against Ukraine. I’m pretty sure Navalny wouldn’t order police to beat unarmed people walking through their city. And Navalny does not seem to have the mania to compete with his subordinates over who has the biggest house. What flaw could overweigh all those Putin’s crimes?

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