03/18/2022, 09.43
RUSSIA
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Naval'nyj has the last word, from Vladimir prison

by Vladimir Rozanskij

In a new trial, the anti-Putin dissident attacks judges, accusing them of being subservient to power. From his prison cell, he criticises Ukraine invasion and expresses support for the journalist who denounced Russia's aggression on TV. He risks another 13 years of harsh prison regime.

 

Moscow (AsiaNews) - "My trials are a kind of dialogue between me, my friends and state power. I hate your power, and I despise your judicial system: aren't you ashamed of pretending to be judges and prosecutors, when you merely officially pronounce what they suggest over the phone?" Aleksej Naval'nyj, Putin's number one opponent, spoke harshly at the end of yet another trial against him. The hearing was held in front of the Moscow court of Lefortovo, in a special session in the Vladimir lager, where he has been held for a year.

The sentence for the latest trial on charges of fraud and contempt of court, is scheduled for 22 March. The Prosecutor's Office asked for a sentence of 13 more years in the lprison camp with transfer to the hard regime, plus two more years of probation. The request is based on the accumulation of previous charges and Naval'nyj's recent public statements against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

If the transfer to the hard regime desired by the prosecution takes place, it is likely that no one will be able to hear his statements again. The journalists gathered in a special room, where the court session was broadcast, could not hear the entire speech of the anti-Putin politician and the interventions of his lawyers, because the broadcast was constantly interrupted.

The Insider and Mediazona were then able to reconstruct Naval'nyj's words. He said that 'this trial is very special, and differs from all the others, because no one is interested in the issue being debated here, it is clear that against the background of the war it is much less interesting'. According to the dissident, the result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be "the total collapse of the country, of our country... it sounds a bit barbaric, but it is the very expression 'Russian-Ukrainian war' that sounds barbaric".

In his view, the war has been 'mounted by a bunch of mindless old fools who don't give a damn about anyone. Their homeland is the Swiss banks, and no matter how much patriotism they spout, this is just a myth, and a great threat to us all. The only thing to do now, he added, "is to fight the war".

Naval'nyj also promised that the history of the FBK, the anti-corruption fund he founded, would not stop with its forced dissolution by the court and his detention in the lager: 'Not only will we not stop, but the FBK's activities will become global, international'.

He also congratulated Marina Ovsjannikova, the editor of the most important TV channel who burst in during the news showing an anti-war sign, and recorded a video to ask the viewers' forgiveness for all the lies she had to spread. Repeating the woman's words, he exclaimed: "Act, they cannot put everyone in prison! Even if you give me not 13, but 113 more years in jail, you don't scare me or many like me." Naval'nyj stressed that "Russia is big and its people are numerous, not everyone is ready to betray themselves and give up their future and that of their children with the fear that you have shown us to have."

The dissident spoke at length, taking advantage of what could be his last chance: "Economists say we have lost a decade of development, but who lost it? While we were walking down the street? It is a decade that has been stolen from us! The war serves to close the mouths of those who talk about the theft of our leaders, and to close the ears of those who would listen to them'.

Naval'nyj's last words, 'it is much better to be a free man of God, than a Putin lackey whom the demons will devour in Hades. I am helped by a great man whom I see every day, when I am searched before entering this room, in front of a portrait of Lev Tolstoy.  He wrote in his diaries and novels that war is only madness".

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