Alexei Nalvany, Russian lawyer, founder of the Anti-corruption foundation (FBK) which investigates the wealth of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, and leader of Russia’s democratic opposition, was sentenced by a Moscow court to two years and eight months in a prison colony. His most recent arrest, 02/2/2021, gained international acknowledgement due to the questions it raised on Russia’s domesticity and the sociopolitical instability it caused.
He has been repeatedly arrested and jailed (more than ten times) and has spent many days in custody since 2011.
In 2013, he was sentenced Election officials prevented him from running for president.
In April 2017, Nalvany was attacked with green dye by an unknown assailant in Siberia that nearly blinded him.
In 2018 due to an embezzlement conviction which he claims was, “politically motivated”. In 2019, he was taken from jail to a hospital with symptoms that indicated poisoning .
In 2020 he was again hospitalized in Germany after a near-fatal poisoning through a Novichok nerve agent used against him, as a toxicological report of the German government implies. After recovering from his comma, Nalvany accused Putin of ordering his assassination and stated that the President’s “only method is killing people”.
In February, he was handed a three and a half year prison term for breaching terms of parole related to an old fraud conviction.
Nalvany’s work against the Russian government:
The FBK has become a 9-year-old foundation with more than 7,500 sponsors that has been instrumental in exposing Russian corruption, producing investigative videos on oligarchs, government officials, executives at state-owned companies and their close circles. As Putin has extended control over the media during his 20 year reign, the FBK relies on open-source information like property documents, photos and videos to carry out its research.
Nalvany’s “smart voting” initiative which encourages Russian voters to coalesce around politicians most likely to treat the Kremlin’s favoured candidate had some success in local election during September 2020 and led to the defeat of few ruling party representatives in 2019.
Some famous exposé videos Nalvany has published:
“Don’t call him Dima”: Exposé on Prime Minister and seemingly corrupt official Dmitry Medvedev, watched by 35million people (equivalent to 1/4 of Russia’s population). Reveals a secret business empire through non-profit organisations.
Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika and his family: Accusation of Chaika’s sons of using the cover of their father’s subordinates to illegally enrich themselves by privatising industrial facilities and businesses in Russia allowing them to purchase hotels and being awarded invalid state tenders for development projects
Current conviction: Summary of what was heard inside the Kremlin
Based on the official government line, Nalvany’s campaigns reflect espionage and terrorism making him a “sower of chaos and corrupter of young minds”. It is stated that the novichok was administered by foreign agents. However, Nalvany expressed that he was targeted to intimidate his fellow opponents to the government of Putin. The judge was not persuaded and he favored the prosecution claim that he had dallied in Germany to evade justice.
Navalny delivered an impassioned appeal to Russians, which has been released. He says “we are a very unhappy country and we can't get out of this vicious circle of unhappiness. But we want it so much. That is why I suggest we change the slogan and we don't just say that “Russia has to be free” but also that ‘Russia has to be happy”. Russia will be happy. It is important not to feel lonely, because if I were Voldemort, I would like you to feel lonely. Obviously, our “Voldemort'' in his palace also wants it. As another outstanding philosopher of our days Rick Sanchez said: “To live is to risk it all. if you don't risk, you’re just an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows you.”
Aftermath of Nalvany’s imprisonment:
Though Alexei Nalveny is in jail, he will still be haunting Vladimir Putin.
· After the verdict, hundreds of Nalvany supporters marched in central Moscow. While demanding his release, they shared videos of their encountered police brutality on social media. More that 1,000 people were arrested across the country in the course of the day (OVD-info group).
· Kremlin announced it will expel diplomats from Sweden, Germany and Poland for participating in protests in support of Nalvany
· Many admire Nalvany for chipping away from the cult of Putin as a mythic strongman and guarantor of stability following the chaos and criminality prevalent in Russia during the 1990s.
· His case has stirred change. Questions have risen about Putin’s possible abuse of power and perceive him as small in the face of the societal outrage caused by Nalvany’s imprisonment. Despite the Kremlin's crackdown, the anti-corruption movement Nalvany has started, has gained momentum and is gaining in strength”, as Russian opposition activist Vladimir Ashurkov claims.
· The European Court of Human Rights decided to grant an interim measure on behalf of Nalvany, indicating to the Russian Government to release him
· Responses: Prominent politicians have spoken up about Nalvany’s imprisonment and have requested his immediate release while criticizing Russia’s President and his judicial system.
o US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken: Said Washington was “deeply concerned” and reiterated calls for Nalvany’s unconditional release claiming it would coordinate with allies to hold Russia accountable.
o UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson: Described the ruling as a “pure cowardice” which failed to adhere to “the most basic standards of justice”.
o German foreign minister, Heiko Maas: Described the Kremlin as a “bitter blow” to the rule of law in Russia