Alexei Navalny set to return home despite threats of arrest.


Top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny recently announced he plans to go home to Russia next weekend despite the authorities’ threatening to put him behind bars once again.

Navalny, who has been recovering in Germany from poisoning with a nerve agent in August that he has blamed on the Kremlin, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin was now trying to avert him from coming home with new legal motions. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied a role in poisoning of the opposition leader.

“Putin is stamping his feet demanding to do everything so that that I don’t return home,” Navalny said on Wednesday while he announced his return via Instagram. “The people who tried to kill me got offended because I survived and now they are threatening to put me behind bars.”

He said he is going to fly home from Germany on Sunday.

At the end of December, the Federal Penitentiary Service warned Navalny that he would have a real prison term if he fails to immediately report to its office in line with the terms of a suspended sentence he received for a 2014 conviction on charges of embezzlement and money-laundering that he rejected saying it to be a politically motivated move. The European Court for Human Rights had concluded that his conviction was unlawful.

Just before the New Year, Russia’s main investigative agency also filed a new criminal case against Navalny on charges of large-scale fraud related to his alleged mishandling of $5 million in private donations to his Anti-Corruption Foundation and other organizations. Navalny has also claimed those accusations to be crudely fabricated.

“They are doing everything to scare me,” Navalny told in his Instagram video. “The only thing left for Putin to do is to put up a giant billboard on top of the Kremlin saying “Alexei, please don’t return home under any circumstances!”

German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said Berlin has “taken note” of reports of Navalny’s plans, but didn’t answer when asked about the potential risks he could be facing.

“I can only add that Mr. Navalny is free to make his decision and that we are glad he recovered after this attack that was carried out on him,” said German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr.

Navalny fell into a coma while he was aboard a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20. He was then transferred from a hospital in Siberia to a Berlin hospital after two days.

Publish : 2021-01-14 13:18:00

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