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The editor of the Mediazona news site was jailed for 25 days in a sign of a tightening crackdown against free expression following the return to Russia of opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny.

Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center, described in a commentary the crackdown as the mark of a new phase in the Kremlin’s treatment of the anti-Putin opposition.

In years past, the Kremlin’s goal was to delegitimize the opposition in the eyes of the public and keep it out of official politics. Now, she said, it is being criminalized and cast as a national security threat.

At the same time, Mr. Putin’s critics are for the first time uniting around a single figure — Mr. Navalny.

“A time of great confrontation has arrived,” Ms. Stanovaya wrote.

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