ECHR: Russia ordered to pay Navalny compensation

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Russia for repeatedly arresting Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, ruling that the arrests were politically motivated. Moscow must now pay Navalny roughly 63,000 euros in compensation. What significance does the ruling have for the Russian regime and its opponents?

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Hope for the politically persecuted

The ruling sends an important message, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung believes:

“Naturally the judgement will do little to change Navalny's precarious situation. European justice can't protect him. Yet it offers a glimmer of hope for the politically persecuted in Russia. It maintains the hope that the international community won't simply accept their fate and in particular that of the two hundred political prisoners with a shrug. It would, however, be more effective if not just the judges in Strasbourg stated the obvious, but also the leaders of European countries, who all too often save their professions of commitment to the universal application of liberal values for flowery speeches but otherwise treat the repression in Russia as if it were a domestic matter of their big eastern neighbour.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Moscow does not believe in rulings

How much longer will Moscow respect the rules of the Council of Europe and the rulings of the ECHR? the Süddeutsche Zeitung wonders:

“For years the country has topped the list of states rebuked by Strasbourg. Each year eight million euros of the Russian budget are earmarked for fines. The court is highly respected among the Russian people. Meanwhile the government's threats to leave the Council of Europe are growing louder and louder. Ever since it was first founded it has guaranteed a new peaceful order on the continent. Now the Russian leadership is facing it with the choice of how it prefers to lose influence: by giving up its principles and tolerating brutal shifts of borders - or by taking action and running the risk that a key power cancels its cooperation.”