Hours earlier, the opponent was also sentenced on appeal to two and a half years in prison in another case. A Russian court on Saturday, February 20, recognized the main critic of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny, guilty of “defamation” of a veteran of the Second World War. “Navalny committed the crime,” Judge Vera Akimova said when reading the verdict statement. The opponent gets so 850,000 rubles fine, or about 9,500 euros.
The 44-year-old was accused of spreading “false” and “abusive” information about a veteran who defended in a campaign clip last summer a referendum that strengthened the powers of Vladimir Putin. He had described, in a social network, the speakers of this video as “shame of the Nation” and “traitors”.
The Soviet victory over the Nazis occupies a central place in the Russian collective consciousness and is widely celebrated by the authorities and the population. Criticism of veterans is generally frowned upon.
Navalny denounces manipulation
During the previous hearings, Alexeï Navalny multiplied the tense exchanges with the prosecutor and the judge, denouncing his submission to the authorities and believing that justice was manipulating a 94-year-old man to repress an opponent of power.
Before reading Saturday’s decision, Alexeï Navalny again showed a defiant attitude and joked behind his glass cage. “Why is everyone so sad?” He said, recounting trying to make ice cream at the detention center or even making pickles.
In a separate case, the Russian opponent’s prison sentence was upheld on appeal on Saturday, but slightly reduced to two and a half years, in a fraud case dating from 2014 and which he denounces as policy.