“On January 17th, Sunday, I come home.» As always, it is on social networks that the opponent Alexeï Navalny announced the big news. He will return to Russia at the end of the week with a low cost flight from the Pobeda company (“victory” in Russian, it never hurts to force the symbols).
“The question ‘to return or not’ has never arisen. Simply because I never left. I found myself in Germany, transported in a resuscitation box, for one reason only: they tried to kill me ”, a explained the 44-year-old opponent on his Instagram account. By specifying that it had to be “Almost cured”, since he managed to do push-ups and other «burpees», movements that he could not perform at all on coming out of a coma, after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, in August.
Ambitions and spinning
An investigation by journalists from Bellingcat and The Insider proved that the attack was organized and carried out by the Russian security services (FSB), which have been monitoring the opponent for years and following him on all his travels through Russia since that he clearly expressed, in 2016, his electoral ambitions. Looking for the right moment to get rid of him, can we conclude by reading the revelations of investigative journalists, since the spinning teams were not made up of field agents but experts in chemical weapons. One of them was also trapped by Navalny himself, who pretended to be an FSB employee and pulled the worms out of him during a formidable telephone hoax. .
Sewn with white thread
On Tuesday, the Russian Prison Service (FSIN) filed a complaint to commute a suspended prison sentence in firm detention, in the so-called “Yves Rocher” case, in which the lawyer-blogger was accused, in 2014, of embezzlement to the detriment of a Russian subsidiary of the French company. Alexeï Navalny was then sentenced to three and a half years in prison suspended, and his brother Oleg of three and a half years firm.
The sentence, in this case sewn with white thread, like so many others fabricated over the years by the Russian authorities to hamper the political activity of the opponent, expired on December 30. A few weeks ago, the FSIN had indicated that it was considering converting the opponent’s sentence, arguing that Navalny – recovering in Germany – had broken the law by not pointing to the criminal inspection, while he was not only cured but no longer had any symptoms. And the prison service to rely, as evidence, on a publication of the scientific journal The Lancet dated 22 December, containing an account of the Charité hospital in Berlin, which had received the opponent after his poisoning.
“I survived, éNavalny writes again on Instagram. And now, Putin, who gave the order to kill me, chirps at the top of his lungs in his bunker and orders his servants to do everything so that I do not return. And the servants do what they always do: they fabricate new criminal cases against me. “
At the end of December, a survey for “Large-scale fraud” was also opened against the opponent. The Russian Investigative Committee suspects the founder of the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) of having spent 356 million rubles (3.9 million euros) for his personal use in donations collected to run the NGO, which essentially lives on crowdfunding.
“Come and welcome me!”
These legal developments are all signals sent to the opponent not to return to Russia. As explained to Release in December the political scientist Tatiana Stanovaya, since the revelations on her direct implication in the attempt to assassinate the opponent, the Kremlin is at a dead end. Navalny crossed all the red lines by declaring war – and ridiculing him in the process – on the all-powerful FSB, the sprawling base of Putin’s power.
Vladimir Putin, for his part, can no longer sweep away with a contemptuous backhand “This blogger” who “Does not interest anyone”, as the means mobilized to neutralize “the patient” (the Russian president and his megaphones never pronounce the name of the opponent in public). The “Come and welcome me!” defiant, launched by Navalny at the end of his Instagram video announcing his return, seems directed to his supporters, but even more so to the Russian authorities. Handcuffing him in front of cameras around the world at Vnukovo International Airport on Sunday would be stark proof of the threat Alexei Navalny poses to the regime he vilifies.
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