Kremlin shrugs off Navalny backlash as protesters crowd jails
1,438 more reportedly arrested amid brutal police crackdown following opposition leader’s imprisonment
Tatiana Stanovaya, a political analyst and founder of R.Politik, said the harsh sentence against Navalny was part of a campaign to “demonstrate that no move aimed against the security services would remain unpunished”.
She said the government was ready to weather the backlash to Navalny’s imprisonment, whether it be international condemnation or street demonstrations in Russia. “Make no mistake, the Kremlin is not terribly afraid of protests,” she said.
The jailing of Navalny, who arrested last month on his return to Russia after surviving a suspected FSB assassination attempt with the poison novichok, has sparked international outrage. The US secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, has demanded his unconditional and immediate release and the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, called the sentencing “pure cowardice”.