Alexei Navalny is Russian for ‘domestic enemy number one’

Arrest of opposition activist has only elevated his status as a symbol of repression

, Europe editor

Until last year’s poisoning the authorities had sought to contain him with harassment, repeated arrests, short detentions and disqualifications from office. Now they are likely to lock him up for a long time. Upon his arrival on Sunday, he was arrested for flouting the terms of a suspended sentence for fraud that he (and the European Court of Human Rights) says is trumped up. On Monday, Mr Navalny was sentenced to 30 days in jail after a summary hearing, for which he was given one minute’s notice. He could face another three years behind bars when the case returns to court. Other embezzlement charges are pending.

“For the authorities, how they viewed Navalny changed not as much after he was poisoned, but after the . . . FSB exposés. No longer is he a small-time crook, but an enemy who must be humiliated, crushed, punished,” says Tatiana Stanovaya of political consultancy R Politik.



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