Grigorii Golosov

How a Russian Dissident Became a Thorn in Vladimir Putin's Side

On 18 July, the Lenin District Court in the city of Kirov sentenced opposition activist Aleksey Navalny to five years in a prison camp for alleged embezzlement of funds at the Kirovles Timber Enterprise. I will not go into the details of the case against him and co-defendant Petr Ofitserov. Suffice to say that in the opinion of the former Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin, whose competence in the legal regulation of economic activity in Russia should not in doubt, ‘Navalny’s sentence shows up our selective system of justice: any official involved in the management of a company could be given the same sentence.’  In Kudrin’s view, his sentence is a way of ‘isolating a politician from public life and the electoral process’, and the majority of Russia’s legal experts agree with him.

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