Putin Takes Action Against His Biggest Enemy

Since his arrest in February 2021, Alexei Navalny has been sitting in a prison cell awaiting his 12-year sentence for fraud and contempt of court.

On Wednesday, Navalny, an inmate who has been critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he had been charged with new terrorism-related offenses that may result in a life sentence.

In a thread on Twitter, Navalny, 46, wrote, “I’m facing 30 years under this case and life imprisonment under the next.”

A film on the opposition leader’s near-fatal poisoning in 2020 won the Oscar for best documentary feature last month. He is arguably Russia’s most prominent adversary of Putin.

The Russian state agency RAPSI, which specializes in the country’s legal system, reported on Wednesday that Navalny and his counsel have until the beginning of May to familiarize themselves with the 195 volumes of court data.

One of the new allegations against him is that he committed terrorist acts while incarcerated in a correctional colony more than 150 kilometers from Moscow.

According to Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s colleague Leonid Volkov posted the statement that started the terrorism case on his Popular Politics channel on YouTube. According to her account, Volkov remarked that Putin ought to be treated as a terrorist.

According to former U.S. State Department policy planner Michael Kimmage, who oversaw the Russia/Ukraine portfolio, Putin displays a “high level of vindictiveness toward anybody who’s any kind of political threat.”

For Putin, “In a way, Navalny is the biggest of all the political threats that Putin faces,” he remarked.

According to Kimmage, Putin is using Navalny to warn other dissidents, just as he did last week with Kremlin opponent Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was given a 25-year prison sentence.

Putin has rarely addressed Navalny in public, but he has denied any involvement in the poisoning in 2020 and told NBC News in 2021 that the opposition leader’s arrest was not his doing. During the same interview, he doubted Navalny would endure his time behind bars.