Despite growing pressure from the Russian authorities who have multiplied warnings and legal proceedings, supporters of Alexeï Navalny are preparing, Sunday, January 31, for a new day of demonstrations to call for the release of the imprisoned opponent.
Anti-corruption activist and sworn enemy of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny returned to Russia on January 17 after months of convalescence in Germany for suspected poisoning, for which he accuses Vladimir Putin and the Russian security services of being responsible. He once again called on the Russians to take to the streets on Thursday. ” Do not be afraid “, he wrote in a letter posted on his blog. “The majority are on our side. Let’s go wake her up. “
In particular, supporters of Mr. Navalny must gather in front of the headquarters of the Russian security services (FSB), Lubyanka Square in central Moscow, where the authorities, who consider these gatherings illegal, plan to limit access to several streets and to close seven metro stations.
The municipality also announced that restaurants and shops in the center of the capital will remain closed on Sunday and that the bus route will be changed.
Navalny risks “about two and a half years” in prison
These rallies follow a first day of protests last Saturday, which brought together tens of thousands of Russians across the country and which resulted in more than 4,000 arrests and the opening of around 20 criminal cases .
They will take place against the backdrop of the appearance of Alexey Navalny before judges, scheduled for next week. The opponent has been the target of a multitude of legal proceedings since his return to Russia, which he considers to be politically motivated.
According to his lawyer, the opponent risks in particular “About two and a half years” prison sentence for violating the conditions of a three-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence, which he received in 2014.
Most of his close allies, including his brother Oleg and the rising opposition figure, Lioubov Sobol, were under house arrest Friday by the Russian courts, two days after a series of searches that targeted the home of his wife Yulia. and the premises of his organization, the Anti-Corruption Fund.
Sanctioned social networks
In the previous days, the authorities have repeatedly warned supporters of Mr. Navalny, the prosecution and the police saying in particular that the demonstrators could be prosecuted for “Mass riots” if the gatherings ended in violence.
Russian telecoms gendarme Roskomnadzor announced for his part that he was going to sanction social networks for leaving messages online, according to him, encouraging minors to go and demonstrate.
The protests are also fueled by the dissemination of an investigation by the opponent accusing President Vladimir Putin of benefiting from a huge and opulent “Palace” over a billion euros on the shores of the Black Sea, viewed over 100 million times on YouTube. Vladimir Putin has denied accusations aimed at “Brainwash” Russians, while Russian public television broadcast images showing the residence still under construction, far from the luxury described by the opponent.
On Saturday, billionaire Arkadi Rotenberg, a close friend of Mr. Putin who was his former judo partner and who is under Western sanctions, claimed to be the real owner of the residence and assured that he was in the process of building a hotel.
Our selection of articles on the Alexeï Navalny affair