Destinations Magazine

Justice in Russia: The Navalny Affair

By Stizzard
Justice in Russia: The Navalny affair The Navalny circus hits Kirov

KIROV, a town 900km (560 miles) east of Moscow, is not known for its attractions. It was the place of exile for a 19th-century revolutionary, Alexander Herzen. On April 17th an army of journalists descended on Kirov for the biggest political show trial of the season. In the starring role was Alexei Navalny, a popular anti-corruption blogger and opposition figure who has an almost cult-like following among Russia’s internet-using middle class.In the past three years he has united different camps, forcing the Kremlin to respond to his anti-corruption campaigns and his rising popularity. The case against Mr Navalny is part of the response. He is accused of embezzling $ 500,000 from a state timber company during his time as an adviser to the governor of Kirov.The case began two years ago but local prosecutors dismissed it. Then Alexander Bastrykin, Russia’s chief federal investigator, ordered it reopened. (Mr Navalny had ridiculed him as a “foreign agent” and publicised threats made by Mr Bastrykin to a Russian journalist.) That the company from which the timber was stolen was paid and that Mr Navalny had no proven…


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