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The opposition leader has been recovering in Germany from a poisoning attack widely attributed to the Russian state.

Jan. 13, 2021

At the same time, the Kremlin raised the pressure on Mr. Navalny, signaling that he would end up in jail if he returned to Russia. President Vladimir V. Putin described Mr. Navalny as a C.I.A. asset and quipped that if Russian agents had wanted to kill the opposition leader, “they would have probably finished the job.”

But imprisoning the opposition leader would carry risks for the Kremlin because the move could set off protests, and, by announcing his imminent return, Mr. Navalny appears to be calling Mr. Putin’s bluff. An ally of Mr. Navalny, Lyubov Sobol, was jailed in Moscow for 48 hours in December, then released.

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