Navalny As Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Antagonist
Highly charged criminal trial against the Kremlin's most dangerous opponent Alexei Navalny is to be continued. Russia's Investigation Committee spokesman General Markin was unexpectedly candid, actually admitting freely that the lawyer and corruption whistle-blower must account before the court for his political activity.
"If a person tries with all his strength to attract attention, or if I can put it, teases authorities, (..) well, then interest in his past grows and the process of exposing him naturally speeds up," General Markin was quoted by the media as saying. But Navalny has been attracting attention to the facts of theft and corruption instead of himself.
The prominent opposition leader is facing charges of embezzling $500,000 from a timber company within an organized group. The criminal case was launched already two years ago. Hundreds of businessmen, who had teased 'the protection', their rivals or partners, have been sent to prison in Russia accordingly to similar accusations. The scheme is not re-invented in this particular case, only this time the strikingly tough prosecution makes an impression that there has been a kind of "an order" from above. How can you steal 16 million rubles, when the bank documents prove the legality of the business deal? In fact, it is the first law of business, to find the consumer and sell the cheaper-bought product costly.
Navalny publicized all the papers regarding the timber deal on the internet. First the charge was dismissed but then it was re-opened, on the order of the very General Bastrykin, the head of Russia's Investigation Committee. Did it really happen just because Navalny had published data on Bastrykin's real estate in the Czech Republic?
Initially, Alexei Navalny was simply a popular blogger who called a spade a spade, or the thieves the thieves.Now he's turned a national-scale personality. He is the most well-known fighter against corruption in Russia. Though, Russia's television guru Vladimir Pozner was prohibited to invite Navalny to his talk show. That means somebody is afraid of the inconsolable lawyer. is it just because Navalny makes no secret that he wants to occupy the Kremlin as a result of fair elections?
Why is the notorious timber case more urgent than, for instance, some oil business fraud of many millions by host of getters? Some Russian lawyers are worried that an accusatory verdict would greatly undermine the court system's reputation. That's why we should give the just court the floor! It is Navalny's criminal case which can add more value to Russia's courts. The court has been given a chance to prove that the lawyer's promise to try conclusions with the President does not preoccupy the Kremlin, neither it will affect the court's delivery of the judgement. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate that the authorities do not attempt to use the court to influence or shift aside unwanted persons. It is an opportunity to refute allegations that the non-system opposition will not be tolerated by the authorities, even if it is actually acting in the public interest. It is the opportunity to openly present to wide public all the details of the criminal case, so that no one would have reason to grumble that the anti-corruption fighter is tried, while he is clean as a whistle.
The judges should act in an unbiased, principled and fair way in order not to be accused of participation in hunting of bloggers, intelligentsia and dissidents while violent ethnic criminality has been raging in Russian cities. So no one can say that those who put the opposition activists into jail are unable to put on the brakes. Otherwise, Alexei Navalny has all chances to become even a much more well-known convict than Mikhail Khodorkovsky or the Pussy Riot.