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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is being prosecuted for unlawful assembly
Kremlin antagonist, anti-corruption activist, and opposition leader Alexei Navalny may be going to the big house for good according to noted Russian political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya of the Institute for Modern Russia. Russian news outlet Meduza reported that Stanovaya believes the Russian leadership thinks the time is right to get rid of Navalny, a long-term thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The line of thinking seems to be that he has become less powerful and the Kremlin should take advantage of a possible short-term opportunity to get him off the political stage and into prison. She lists four points given below, reported Meduza.
Navalny has been stuck on the sidelines of popular anger about raising the retirement age, and opposition to the policy has remained largely leaderless. It would be better to “neutralize” him now than later.
Thanks to hostile coverage by state television, Navalny’s “anti-rating” is currently quite high, meaning that most Russians would either ignore or support his imprisonment, while liberals with any influence would be too scared to risk their positions to speak up.
Viktor Zolotov’s “duel challenge” exposed frustrations in the National Guard that are a liability for the Kremlin, and some officials want to defuse the situation by throwing Navalny behind bars.
As Putin’s approval rating suffers and advisers increasingly sense ominously that “things are in motion,” Navalny becomes a less important game piece that’s better swept off the board.