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Russia’s Navalny expects ‘Stalinist term’ when sentenced on extremism charges

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny. (Moscow City Court Press Office/Tass via ZUMA Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Jailed Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny says he expects to be given a “Stalinist term” when he’s sentenced on August 4 on extremism charges that could keep him incarcerated for decades.

Navalny issued a statement through his supporters that was published on the Meduza website a day before his scheduled sentencing, saying he expects “it’s going to be a huge term.”

The 47-year-old Navalny said that the formula for calculating his sentence was simple and would involve “taking what the prosecutor asked for on July 20 — 20 years — and reducing it by 10-to-15 percent.”

“This is what’s called a ‘Stalinist’ term. They asked for 20 years so they will give 18 or something around it. It doesn’t really matter…its main purpose is to intimidate,” said Navalny, who has been in prison since February 2021 serving a combined 11 1/2-year sentence on previous convictions called politically motivated.

The prosecutors also asked for 10 years for co-defendant Daniel Kholodny.

The Kremlin critic and anti-corruption crusader is accused under six articles of the Criminal Code, including creating and financing an extremist community, calling for extremism, rehabilitating Nazism, and involving minors in dangerous acts.

The case deals with Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which, at the request of the prosecutor’s office, was declared extremist in 2021, banning all of its activities in Russia.

Navalny previously said on social media that he expected a sentence of 15 years to 20 years, despite what he claims to be “nonsensical” evidence presented during his closed-door trial.

In his opinion, a harsh sentence is necessary to intimidate hm and his supporters.

“By the severity of the sentence, the thoughts of opposition are knocked out of my head,” he said, calling for his supporters to stay calm.

He added that his supporters should take the repression against him and his supporters “coolly” and continue to fight the Russian authorities in some way “from transferring money to going to rallies.”

Navalny also expressed gratitude to his supporters, lawyers, and defense witnesses, and separately he thanked Kholodny, a former Navalny Live employee. According to Navalny, Kholodny “does not let himself be intimidated,” and he encouraged his supporters to “be the same.”