Navalny Sentencing Exposes the Kremlin’s Weakness: Corruption

Russian opposition activist and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny arrives at a court in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 30, 2014 (AP photo by Alexander Khitrov).
Russian opposition activist and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny arrives at a court in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 30, 2014 (AP photo by Alexander Khitrov).

Just before Russians rang in the new year, opposition activist Alexei Navalny received a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for alleged fraud, while his younger brother Oleg faces imprisonment for the same term. Since Oleg is not known for his political activities, the move was widely interpreted as hostage-taking, indicating that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to silence the elder Navalny without making him a martyr. As Masha Gessen wrote in The New Yorker, “This is a familiar tactic in a state with a long legacy of terror: in the nineteen-seventies, the Soviet government forced dissidents to leave the country by making […]

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