Political expert Tatiana Stanowaja believes that all of this shows that the siloviki, the security services, are in charge of the Navalny issue. Those who are responsible for domestic politics in the Kremlin, on the other hand, don’t have much to report. Her colleague Alexander Baunow also writes that it is about “preserving face of the state and maintaining the deterrent machine.” from Moscow’s Carnegie Center. Because if Navalny could have easily entered, no one would take threats from the state seriously.
The Kremlin is prepared to pay a price for this policy: for example, the already difficult relations with the West have deteriorated further as a result of the Navalny case. Not only the federal government demanded Nawalny’s “immediate release”, numerous other states, including the USA and France, also sharply criticized him.
The Kremlin critic consciously risked losing his freedom. A daring undertaking that fits his biography. Navalny always drew his strength from “challenging those who were stronger,” writes Carnegie expert Baunow.
Navalny will now be locked away until February 15th – it could turn out to be years. It is also the first time that he has been in a detention center for longer. The conditions there are tougher than the arrest sentences that he previously had to serve; among other things, contacts with the outside world are much more limited.
On February 2, a court is due to hear whether a controversial suspended sentence from 2014 will be converted into prison. The n the opposition would have to be held in camp for three and a half years.
Navalny as a martyr
So far, the Kremlin had avoided locking Navalny in custody for long; they did not want to make a martyr out of him. Now the signs have changed: Navalny is now seen as an enemy who must be humiliated, smashed, punished, says policy expert Stanovaya.
The 44-year-old only has one thing left in this situation: He has to mobilize his supporters. Navalny has now done so with the video call after his conviction: On Saturday, January 23, his offices want to organize demonstrations across the country. It is another declaration of war on the regime, Navalny will not let up, even if he is in custody.
How many people will join him is questionable. Parliament had recently tightened numerous laws: Not only was freedom of expression further restricted, it also made demonstrations almost impossible.