Anti-Putin Russian Leader Alexei Navalny Arrested
Anti-Putin Russian Leader Alexei Navalny Arrested
  • Reporter Han Sang-yun
  • 승인 2021.02.28 00:24
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▲Alexei Navalny arrested after landing in Moscow / Time
▲Alexei Navalny arrested after landing in Moscow / Time



On Jan. 17, Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for multiple violations of probationary duty. 
On Aug. 20, 2020, Navalny was attacked on a plane from Tomsk to Moscow with Novichok, a nerve agent. Navalny survived and recovered in Berlin’s Charité Hospital in Germany. After recovery, he made his way back to Russia on Jan. 17. He was arrested at the airport shortly after returning to Russia.
The major trigger of his probation dates back to 2014. On Dec. 30, 2014, Navalny was indicted on charges of embezzling 31 million rubles (approximately 590 million KRW) from Yves Rocher, a French cosmetics company. The court sentenced him to three and a half years in prison with a five-year suspension. The probation period originally scheduled to end in December 2019 was extended until the end of 2020 in the 2017 court judgement regarding Navalny’s involvement in unsanctioned protests. This January, FSB gave him a 30-day detention period from Jan. 18 to Feb. 15. Before the end of the detention period, on Feb. 2, the Moscow court issued a new judgement, sentencing him for 3.5 years.
Even before the probation, Navalny has been in the spotlight for his criticism of Putin and the government’s corruption. In 2011, he criticized United Russia, the ruling party having Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as their leaders: “I think very poorly of United Russia. United Russia is the party of corruption, the party of crooks and thieves.”
Navalny ran for the mayor of Moscow in 2013 and proved his political influence by gaining 27.24% of the votes. He also announced his ambition to run for the 2017 Russian presidential election, but the Russian government disqualified him from running on charges of his embezzling in 2014. From campaigning for more than a year to opening more than 80 election offices across Russia in the 2017 presidential election, he manifested his political power in Russia.
Many interpret that his return may result in rallying the anti-Putin forces ahead of the parliamentary election in September this year. Dmitry Gudkov, a Russian opposition politician, compared Navalny with Nelson Mandela, who had gained political support after being imprisoned for a long time in the Republic of South Africa. In his interview with Deutsche Welle, Gudvok claimed that, “Mandela ascended to power despite his detention. The same thing will surely happen with Navalny.”