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Moscow Press Corps Reacts with Shock, Despair to Navalny Conviction

With the conviction this morning of anti-corruption crusader Alexey Navalny on charges of embezzling $500,000 from a state-owned timber company, the Kremlin sent a strong message that it has little tolerance for dissent. Navalny’s five-year prison sentence was far harsher than expected and will likely scuttle his bid to run for mayor of Moscow this ...

ASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
ASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

With the conviction this morning of anti-corruption crusader Alexey Navalny on charges of embezzling $500,000 from a state-owned timber company, the Kremlin sent a strong message that it has little tolerance for dissent. Navalny’s five-year prison sentence was far harsher than expected and will likely scuttle his bid to run for mayor of Moscow this fall.

While Navalny will undoubtedly appeal Thursday’s ruling, his jailing smacks of a dangerous throwback to Soviet times. In short, Vladimir Putin’s government has eliminated its most significant political opponent by throwing him in jail on what appear to be trumped-up charges.

In the courtroom on Thursday, journalists covering the trial for Western news outlets were shocked and dismayed at the forceful ruling, and remarkably outspoken about its consequences. The entire episode played out live on Twitter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With today’s ruling, on Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, of all days, Russia’s foremost dissident has taken a decisive step toward spending the next five years of his life in jail — as the future of the protest movement he led hangs in the balance.

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering cyberspace, its conflicts, and controversies. @eliasgroll

Tag: Russia

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