MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected Western demands for the release of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s leading opposition leader, saying its demands for mass protests over his arrest were “disturbing”.
President Vladimir Putin is stepping up legal pressure against his most famous domestic critic, who is due to appear in court on Wednesday on defamation charges as his allies in Russia demand a demonstration in Moscow this weekend. Are
Navalny, 44, was arrested on Sunday after returning to Russia from Germany for the first time since recovering from a deadly poison in August with a Soviet-designed Novochok nerve agent.
They retaliated on Tuesday with the publication of a corruption probe into a ڈالر 1.35 billion property off Russia’s Black Sea coast, which they said belonged to Putin. In a two-hour video with the report on his blog, Navalny describes the vast property as a “state within Russia” in which Putin is a “czar.” Russia’s prison service says it has detained Navalny for violating the terms of a suspended sentence he was given in 2014 on fraud charges that he was politically motivated.
A hasty court order on Monday sent him to prison for 30 days, ordering his comrades to take to the streets in central Moscow and march on the Kremlin on Saturday.
Protests in Moscow have been banned due to coronavirus restrictions, but Leonid Volkov, Neville’s right-hand man, said on Tuesday that organizers would not seek formal permission from the authorities to hold a rally.
Volkov told AFP there was a possibility that an unauthorized rally could result in the arrest of Navalny’s supporters, noting that several attacks on the opposition were taking place. “Putin poisoned Navalny and Navalny is now behind bars,” he said.