Aleksei Navalny, Fiery Putin Critic, Is Handed a New, 9-Year Prison Sentence

Aleksei Navalny, file photo; urges supporters not to be idle.

A Russian court sentenced Aleksei A. Navalny to nine years in a high-security prison on Tuesday, imposing a new punishment on the imprisoned opposition leader at a time when the war in Ukraine has made him even more of a liability for President Vladimir V. Putin.

Prosecutors had claimed that Mr. Navalny, a relentless critic and frequent target of Mr. Putin, and Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation — which the Russian authorities banned as extremist last year — had embezzled donations from supporters.

Another video from the group said that during Mr. Navalny’s trial last week, Judge Kotova had received multiple phone calls from a number that researchers traced to the head of public relations for the presidential administration.

“The case was entirely fabricated by specific people,” Ivan Zhdanov, a supporter and former head of Mr. Navalny’s foundation, says in the video. “This verdict is being written by Putin’s officials.”

Judge Kotova has not commented on the allegations, but she was promoted to a more senior judicial position last week, the state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

There is substantial evidence that the Russian government was responsible for the poisoning that nearly killed Mr. Navalny in August 2020, and with the world’s attention on Ukraine, Mr. Navalny’s supporters fear that his life is in danger again.

“Without public protection, Aleksei will be face to face with those who have already tried to kill him,” his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, posted on Twitter on Monday. “And nothing will stop them from trying again. Therefore, we are now talking not only about Aleksei’s freedom, but also about his life.”

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