Moscow (dpa) – With a bony face and a shaven head, Kremlin opponent Alexej Navalny, weakened by his three-week hunger strike, is on display for the first time.
During the video link from his prison camp on Thursday, 44-year-old President Vladimir Putin attacked again. Every child now sees that the Kremlin chief is a “naked emperor” who is looting his land, robbing people of their future prospects and clinging to power, Navalny says in a weakened voice.
His confidant Leonid Volkov, who lives abroad, reports that the regional headquarters of the opposition movement across the country is now being closed under pressure from the Russian judiciary in response to a case of alleged extremism. It is not clear when the verdict will be handed down. However, the Prosecution and the court have already paralyzed organizations in the movement, including parts of Nawalny’s anti-corruption foundation.
Navalny’s lawyers continue to demand that the “secret trial” be opened and that the documents containing the allegations be made public. But such calls, as well as international calls for release, bounce off the walls of the Kremlin. According to Nawalny’s team, 25 years of political reconstruction have now been destroyed. He himself will not be heard in this process.
However, Navalny takes the opportunity to complain again about the abuse of power and arbitrariness of the judiciary under Putin in an appeal procedure scheduled for the same day in another procedure. In his closing remarks he speaks ironically as usual, albeit less forcefully than the previous one: “I would like to say, my best dish, that your Kaiser is naked.”
20 years of completely incompetent leadership under Putin would have led to this result: “There is a crown that slips over your ears. There are tons of lies on TV. And of course there is enormous personal wealth. Navalny complains of shortcomings in education and health systems and criticizes the fact that despite billions in oil and gas revenues, resource power is not progressing. Hundreds of thousands left the country to look for a better future elsewhere.
In his penal camp in Pokrov, about 100 kilometers east of Moscow, there are hardly any good roads; the average income is 30,000 rubles (about 330 euros). Judge Natalja Kuryschewa interrupts him time and again; but Navalny speaks out before telling him that his appeal against a conviction for insulting a World War II veteran has been dismissed. She sees it as proven that Navalny has insulted the man as a “traitor”. Kurysheva also confirms the fine: 850,000 rubles (9,400 euros).
Navalny uses a consultation hour to talk to his wife Julia, who is in the hallway. “Juljaschka, if you can hear me, get up so I can look at you.” She gets up and takes off the black mask. “I’m so happy to see you,” he says. “And I’m glad to see you,” she replies.
Putin’s opponent still weighs 72 pounds after his hunger strike. “Of course I look like a skeleton.” Navalny expects a period of weeks to regain strength under medical supervision. “Yesterday I had four tablespoons of porridge, today I have six and now I’m waiting for ten,” he says.
Navalny says he is completely cut off from information from the outside world. He also sued the prison system for granting him the right to newspapers and books. And requires treatment by independent specialists for back complaints and paralysis of the limbs.
The Kremlin’s opponent was arrested on January 17 in Moscow on his return from Germany, where he had been recovered from an assassination attempt involving the neurotoxin Novichok. A court subsequently sentenced him to several years in prison for alleged probation violation in a previous trial. Navalny sees the various criminal trials and the attack on him as politically motivated to keep him cool.