Jailed Kremlin Critic’s Wife Navalny Says Allies We Will Win Anyway
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The wife of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny told supporters on Wednesday that they would still triumph despite his imprisonment and thanked them for protesting in a case she said had made her there is a flow of police stations, house searches and court hearings.
A court on Tuesday sentenced Navalny, a leading opponent of Vladimir Putin, to three and a half years for parole violations which he said were tricked into sidelining him, ignoring calls from the West and demonstrators at home to free him.
Navalny supporters rallied to show their support for the decision and protested afterwards, prompting authorities to shut down some Moscow metro stations and detain more than 1,400 people, according to a protests observer.
Most of Navalny’s main allies are under house arrest or detention. Some of his supporters have suggested his wife Yulia Navalnaya resume her duties as in Belarus last summer where Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was placed at the forefront of national politics after her husband was jailed.
“I don’t know what to entertain you with here. My life recently is police stations, courts and searches, ”Yulia Navalnaya wrote in an Instagram post.
“I read all of your posts and understand that so many good, strong and decent people are supporting Alexei and me that we should not give in and be afraid. We will win anyway.
“A huge thank you to all of you for coming (to the street), for writing and asking how I’m doing. I’m fine.”
Navalny’s allies accuse police of essentially banning public protests and using disproportionate force and violence to break up rallies and stifle their campaign.
On Wednesday, a court jailed Sergei Smirnov, editor of independent media outlet Mediazona which covered the protests in detail, for 25 days after convicting him of repeatedly flouting protest laws.
State investigators also accused Navalny’s brother Oleg, an activist and member of punk group Pussy Riot, of violating COVID-19 regulations during a protest on January 23, the news agency reported. RIA.
The Kremlin said the police response to Tuesday night’s protests was justified because the protests were illegal and unauthorized. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Navalny’s allies of deliberately provoking police by calling for protests near the Kremlin over the decision.
“The police reaction was due to threats that could have arisen from the organization of such a demonstration,” he told reporters on a conference call. “The provocations include the fact that yesterday there were calls for unapproved protests.”
Navalny’s allies have circulated footage of scenes they claim show police violence, including a clip in which a riot police officer hits a cameraman with a baton, flooring him.
Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said the incident was under internal investigation.
The West called on Moscow to release Navalny, but Russia told it to stay out of its sovereign affairs.
“The hysteria we have heard about the legal process of the Navalny case is of course off the scale,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
The mood in the snowy streets of Moscow was mixed.
“I am not very excited about the actions of our authorities or those of Navalny,” said Maxim, who did not give a last name.
“People are tired, people are not fools … as for the actions of the police, they are really animals. The situation indirectly reproduces the Belarusian scenario, ”said Danila, 25.
Reporting by Dmitry Antonov, Vladimir Soldatkin, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Polina Ivanova; written by Tom Balmforth; edited by Alexandra Hudson