A Moscow court has ruled that the Kremlin critic, Alexi Navalny defamed a Russian
World War II veteran and ordered a fine of nearly €9,500. Earlier, the same court upheld
Alexi Navalny’s prison sentence for a parole violation.
His supporters say both charges are part of a politically motivated plot from the Kremlin
to silence opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The court ordered Navalny to pay a fine of 850,000 rubles (€9,474; $11,481) in the
defamation case. Prosecutors originally asked for a slightly larger fine of 950,000
rubles. DW Moscow correspondent Emily Sherwin said Navalny had approached the
day’s court hearings with a mixture of humor and cynicism.
“He was joking all day. He was smiling and even joked with journalists watching the case
and waiting for the verdict,” Sherwin said, adding that Navalny said he had pickled
cucumbers in a plastic bag while in prison.
During the hearings, Navalny said he did not regret returning to Russia, according to
Sherwin, and made speeches referencing both Harry Potter and the Bible.
Navalny said he hoped Russia could be a country where “truth and justice matter, and
Russia can be free.”
Navalny was accused of defaming a World War II veteran who appeared in a video last
year advocating removing presidential term limits, which would allow Putin to stay in
power beyond 2024.
On Twitter, Navalny described people in the video as “traitors” and “corrupt stooges.”
Russian investigators said Navalny’s tweet “denigrated the honor and dignity” of
95-year- old war veteran Ignat Artemenko, who was among the athletes and celebrities
that appeared in the video.