Vox.com reports Alexei Navalny’s anti-Putin movement might not survive his imprisonment.
This part of the report especially caught my eye :
At his trial on Tuesday, Navalny — never one to let a public moment go to waste — used the platform to rail against the Kremlin and the autocrat who leads it.
“He’s never participated in any debates or campaigned in an election. Murder is the only way he knows how to fight. He’ll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner,” Navalny said of Putin. “Now we’ll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner.”
“I demand my immediate release and the release of all political prisoners. I do not recognize your performance here — it’s a deception and completely illegal,” Navalny concluded before drawing a heart to his wife, Yulia, on the glass cage he was in.
His speech failed to persuade the judge, however, who promptly sentenced Navalny to three and a half years in prison, with a little less than a year taken off for time previously served under house arrest. Which means Navalny now faces roughly two years and eight months behind bars.
That’s the rub with Navalny: Style often subsumes substance. Returning to Russia from Germany was a stunt, and there’s no other way to see it as Navalny prefered jail in Russia over freedom in Germany. Why?
Navalny attracts attention simply because of his name; he’s a crusader, and that means anything he does will generate news coverage. But for the next 30 or so months, unless he’s released from prison early (and as Vox notes that almost certainly would come with exile), he will have zero ability to communicate directly with the public.