Alexey Navalny’s supporters have announced the start of a new “Freedom for Navalny!” campaign, which includes plans to hold another rally calling for his release from prison.
According to a post published on the opposition politician’s website, the upcoming protest action will be a “fundamentally different rally that everyone will know about.” Those who wish to take part in a protest action are asked to register their email address on a dedicated website — Navalny’s associates have promised to name the date of the rally once 500,000 people have signed up.
We know the only obstacle to this is fear. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is good at trading fear. His riot police with truncheons, his police vans and judges — all of this works to intimidate the citizens of our country. Don’t go out: you’ll be beaten, fined, arrested — this is his main argument, his main instrument for maintaining power. But we also know very well that if 1,000 people come out they all get arrested, if it’s 10,000 they get dispersed, but if it’s 100,000 the riot police are well behaved.
Almost immediately after the announcement about the launch of the campaign went up, the registration site became unavailable. At the time of this writing, more than 15,000 people had registered to participate.
On February 2, a Moscow sentenced Navalny to time in prison for allegedly violating his parole in the Yves Rocher case while in Germany (where he spent five months recovering after being poisoned with a chemical nerve agent in August 2020). Navalny will now spend two and a half years in prison. Currently, he’s serving his sentence at Penal Colony No. 2 (IK-2) in the city of Pokrov in the Vladimir region.
In late January and early February, tens of thousands of people across Russian took part in pro-Navalny demonstrations. In most cities, police officers violently dispersed the protesters; in total more than 10,000 people were detained, many of whom subsequently received jail time or sizable monetary fines. The authorities also launched approximately 90 criminal cases in connection with the demonstrations.