Tens of thousands of Russians protested Alexei Navalny’s arrest in January 2021. They demanded that the top Kremlin critic be freed and shouted slogans against President Vladimir Putin. Many were detained.

Putin has launched the most severe crackdown since the Soviet Union era: Navalny was jailed and his group outlawed. He and his associates were either arrested, expelled from the country, or forced to comply with draconian new laws. Social media platforms were banned and independent news outlets were shut down.

Now, Russia has invaded Ukraine with its military, marking the largest invasion of Europe since World War II.

While the Kremlin has done its best to suppress political dissent and opposing the war, there have been a few moments of defiance.

According to the rights group OVD-Info, more than 15,000 protesters were detained after the February 24th invasion.

Police quickly detained a silent protestor in Nizhny Novgorod who displayed a blank sign.

On March 14, a woman walked behind an anchor to interrupt a live broadcast of the evening news on Russia’s state television. She held up a poster made in protest against the Russian-English war. OVD-Info identified the woman as Marina Ovsyannikova (an employee of the station), who was taken into custody. She was fined.

Navalny was unflinching at the trial in the penal colony, where he is currently serving a 2 1/2 year sentence. He was convicted of fraud and contempt and sentenced to nine years. This was seen as a way to keep Putin’s most feared foe behind bars as long as possible.

In 2020, the 45-year-old corrupt fighter survived a poisoning with nerve agent. He blames the Kremlin for his sardonic comments on Facebook. “My space flight is taking longer than I expected,” he wrote.

Ilya Yashin (alliet Navalny) has also protested against the increase in jail time.

Yashin posted on Facebook, “Ofcourse, nine years is a stiff punishment.” “Russian rapists, thieves, and murderers often get less.” … In reality, the sentence doesn’t mean much because everyone knows that Alexei will spend just as long behind bars as Putin sitting in the Kremlin.

Yashin addressed Putin and said sarcastically, “You’re quite an optimist.”

One witness for the prosecution committed a small act defiance when Navalny’s trial began one week before Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Fyodor Gorozhanko (an ex-activist in Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation who has since fled Russia) testified that he was forced to give evidence against the opposition leader.

The foundation of Navalny and the network of regional offices across the country were declared extremists and stopped operating last year. Other opposition activists and groups were also targeted by the Kremlin, who increased pressure on independent media outlets and human rights organisations.

Numerous people have been given the “foreign agent” label which is a severe form of government scrutiny. Many were forced to close down due to government pressure.

The crackdown on the invasion of Ukraine has increased, all the while silencing independent news sites. Russia blocked Instagram and Facebook as they were considered extremists. However, Twitter was also blocked. Russians who use virtual private network, or VPNs, can avoid Russian restrictions on access to social media networks and news outlets that are banned in Russia.

The parliament approved a new law that criminalizes content that is not in line with the official line of “fake news” and discredits Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Press outlets were forced to call the action “war” or “invasion” rather than the official description by the government. The new law criminalizes content that deviates from the official line as “fake news” or discredits the Russian military and its actions in Ukraine. Two prominent public figures were among those implicated.

Navalny’s team was unaffected by the war and the trial that brought down its leader. They announced they were relaunching the foundation as an international organisation.

Its new website states that corruption is a killer. This is evident as the bombing of Ukrainian cities by Putin makes it more apparent. Putin and his circle did everything possible to keep their power, steal, steal, steal and steal more. They launched a war, relying on their own impunity.

The statement stated that they would find their mansions in Monaco as well as their villas in Miami and make sure Putin’s elite is stripped of all their wealth. “We have been fighting Putin ever since 2011. “We will fight him until he wins.”

Navalny’s team promoted Popular Politics on YouTube, which has more than 920,000 subscribers since March 5.

It posted a YouTube video Monday claiming that Putin has a super yacht worth $700 million, which is located in an Italian port. This new expose had received over 2.8 million views as of Tuesday evening. The New York Times reported that Putin was not a captain of the vessel.

These allegations were in sharp contrast to Putin’s recent depressing remarks about those opposing the war in Ukraine. They juxtapose elites “who have villas on Miami or the French Riviera, who can’t survive without foie gras, oysters,” to “our people”, and “Russia.”

Exiled Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky spoke Tuesday about his optimism for Navalny. He spent 10 years in Russian prison on charges widely believed to be revenge for challenging Putin’s rule.

Navalny was given nine years. But, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how long Putin has been gone. “And here I think there’s some good news to Alexei,” Khodorkovsky tweeted.


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Jennifer Alvarez is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.