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  Navalny against Putin

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The human rights organisation Amnesty International (AI) has stripped Putin critic Alexei Navalny of his non-violent 'prisoner of conscience' status following complaints about comments he had made in the past. AI was referring to discriminatory statements made by Navalny more than ten years ago against migrants and certain regions and countries which he has never retracted. Whom does Amnesty's decision hurt most?

At a meeting in Brussels the foreign ministers of EU states introduced new sanctions against Russian officials over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. In the coming weeks those deemed responsible for Navalny's imprisonment will be confronted with EU travel bans and having their assets frozen.

A Moscow court has sentenced Alexei Navalny to two years and eight months in a prison colony for violating parole from a 2014 sentence. The European Court of Human Rights had already ruled that Navalny's 2014 conviction was "arbitrary" in 2017. Europe's press sees Russia increasingly isolating itself with this verdict that was clearly politically motivated - and examines what can be done to help Navalny now.

For the second weekend in a row, tens of thousands have demonstrated in Russia against Navalny's imprisonment, corruption and the absence of the rule of law. The security forces have cracked down brutally on the demonstrations, arresting over 5,000 people across the country. While some commentators believe the protests will fizzle out, others see signs of a turning point.

"Putin's palace" is still very much a hot topic. Last week, Navalny's team released a documentary about a bombastic luxury residence on the Black Sea. After nationwide protests, Putin commented on the palace in a live broadcast with selected students. But journalists are unconvinced and make their own snide comments about his statements.