Nine more years for Navalny
Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has already spent over a year in a Russian prison camp. Now a Moscow court has sentenced the well-known Putin critic to nine additional years in prison under particularly harsh conditions. Commentators criticise the judgment and call for solidarity.
The Russian art of twisting legal norms
Navalny's new conviction is an example of the long Russian tradition of giving arbitrary decisions a legal veneer, historian Andreï Kozovoï comments in The Conversation:
“It should be remembered that back in February 2021, Navalny was convicted not on political grounds but on trumped-up fraud charges. This, as well as today's extremely harsh sentence, is a case of obfuscation of legal norms or, to use a term from Russian military history, of legal maskirovka. Maskirovka is the art of copying and twisting legal norms - an art in which Vladimir Putin, a lawyer by training, is a master, but which he certainly did not invent.”
Harsh verdict a sign of Putin's weakness
The international community must strengthen the Russian opposition, The Irish Times admonishes:
“The criminal and barbaric bombardment of Ukrainian cities is a sign of [Putin's] frustration, while reports that senior figures in his security establishment have been removed from their positions hint at internal turmoil. Navalny's latest sentence, following a 'trial' on fraud and contempt of court charges, is a politically-motivated act that is inseparable from Putin's broader push to clamp down on signs of opposition. ... With the world's eyes trained on the horrors in Ukraine, those brave men and women who continue to stand up to Putin at home need all the attention - and support - they can get.”