MOSCOW — Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny wasted no time exhibiting why the Kremlin finds him such a menace: From behind bars in a coronavirus isolation cell, he launched a bombshell video accusing President Vladimir Putin of colossal corruption.
The YouTube video — launched Tuesday lower than 48 hours after Navalny returned to Russia in a direct problem to Putin and his safety companies — crossed all Putin’s pink traces.
It additionally underscores that Navalny and his supporters seem united and arranged 5 months after the opposition chief suffered a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning he claims was ordered by Putin. The Kremlin denies the declare.
Protests by Navalny’s backers are deliberate throughout Russia on Saturday.
However movies and social media — anchored by his community of 40 places of work throughout Russia — stay the core of Navalny’s opposition energy, stating alleged abuses and indulgences by Russia’s leaders underneath Putin. Navalny’s election efforts again candidates with one of the best possibilities of ousting members of Putin’s get together.
This time, the video pointed straight at Putin. It included a photograph of teenager Elizaveta Krivonogikh, whom it claimed was the key daughter Putin fathered with a lover. Navalny’s video additionally printed an architectural plan and drone footage of a big palace close to Gelendzhik on the Black Sea, together with a cellar vineyard, an indoor ice rink and a on line casino. The video alleged it was constructed for Putin utilizing a fancy “slush fund.”
“Putin’s palace. History of world’s largest bribe,” seen greater than 25 million instances, additionally named former gymnast Alina Kabaeva as one other girl who allegedly acquired advantages resembling residences for herself and her household via Putin. Neither Kabaeva nor Krivonogikh has commented publicly.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned the video was “a con,” and “pure nonsense,” denying the palace was associated to Putin, however he gave no particulars on who they are saying is the proprietor. Peskov additionally has rejected a November report by a Russian outlet, Proekt Media, that Krivonogikh was associated to Putin as “unfounded and unconvincing.”
Navalny Life YouTube channel
This picture taken from video launched by Navalny Life YouTube channel on Jan. 19 reveals a drone view of an property on the Black Sea. The video claims the property was constructed for President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin denies the property has hyperlinks to Putin.
Releasing such an explosive video whereas within the clutches of a judicial system infamous for its politicized choices is a danger for Navalny.
He was detained Sunday upon his return from Berlin and faces no less than two and a half years on prices he violated a suspended sentence. He is also doable prolonged jail phrases in two different legal circumstances for alleged fraud and embezzlement. Navalny says the costs are political.
After surviving poisoning by a Novichok group nerve agent in August throughout a visit to Siberia, he straight confronted the home intelligence service, or FSB. Navalny phoned a member of the hit crew that investigative reporting group Bellingcat linked to the crime, tricking him into revealing particulars of the poisoning final month.
Navalny, 44, is seen by the Kremlin and securocrats as an enemy of the state, in keeping with political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya of R. Politik analytical agency. Bringing down Navalny was now seen as “a matter of honor” by the FSB, she mentioned.
“They want to see Navalny destroyed in prison, physically and mentally weak and vulnerable,” she mentioned. “They don’t care about protests or elections. They would like to see the West increase sanctions because it gives them more arguments to insist on this harsh line in Russian policy.”
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Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny’s community of 40 regional places of work, believes Navalny’s life stays at risk.
“The situation is very dangerous indeed because, technically and practically, Alexei Navalny is now in the custody of the very people who tried to poison him,” mentioned Volkov, who’s organizing the protests deliberate for Saturday. The Kremlin denies any hyperlink to the poisoning.
“The Russian Orwellian reality actually demands a lot of bravery now,” he added.
Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny, second from proper, is escorted in handcuffs after a courtroom listening to in Moscow on Jan. 18.
Navalny’s poisoning despatched the message that critical opposition rivals to Putin wouldn’t be tolerated. Since then, authorities have handed a raft of legal guidelines aimed toward Navalny and different dissidents, making it more durable to protest, oppose the regime or to reveal corruption by safety officers and others.
“There were some unwritten rules about what you could do and not do to be on the safe side, but this has changed,” Volkov mentioned. “So what really makes practical sense is to do what you have to do and that’s it.”
Navalny was nonetheless in intensive care in Berlin after his poisoning when he conceived the video as what he sees because the definitive account of Putin’s corrupt regime. He referred to as it “psychological portrait” of a person he says was an unexceptional former KGB agent who grew to become obsessive about amassing limitless wealth and staying in energy.
The video’s visualizations of luxurious palace interiors with ornate Italian furnishings are primarily based on drawings that Navalny mentioned have been leaked by a contractor “stunned and enraged by the luxurious decorations and the insane prices of the furnishings.”
There have been particulars: a wine-production cellar with classical musical piped 24 hours a day to assist the vintages mature; a hookah room with a pole-dancing stage; a tunnel to a sea lookout; an underground ice hockey rink, a two-story theater, a on line casino and an “aquadiscoteque.” There have been custom-made sofas for $27,000, and tables costing as much as $56,000.
[Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny calls for protests after court orders him to be held for 30 days upon his return]
Businessman Sergei Kolesnikov revealed some particulars in 2010, saying he had been concerned within the challenge to construct a residence for Putin. Pictures of the lavish interiors have been posted on-line by staff in 2011.
On Navalny’s first day in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina detention heart on Tuesday, Vladimir Ashurkov, London-based govt director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Basis, referred to as on Western governments to situation sanctions in opposition to an inventory of eight Russians with hyperlinks to Putin. The roster consists of billionaires Roman Abramovich, proprietor of Chelsea soccer membership in Britain, and Well being Minister Mikhail Murashko for “covering up Alexei’s poisoning and hindering efforts to evacuate him to Germany for medical treatment.”
Moscow’s penal detention heart No. 1, often known as Matrosskaya Tishina, the place opposition chief Alexei Navalny was held after being detained after his return from Berlin.
“People on the shortlist are some of the key architects of the system of corruption, restriction of political freedom and oppression that Putin’s regime has built over years in Russia,” Ashurkov mentioned in an interview.
“It will be a deterrent to other people not on this list,” he added. “The message is that there will be consequences to the support of Putin’s regime and to the oppression that these people bring to Russia.”
There was no quick response to the sanctions attraction.
Ashurkov mentioned Navalny knew he is likely to be jailed, however “will find a way to have his voice heard.” On the similar time, Putin’s recognition has been ebbing, actual incomes declining and the Kremlin is struggling to ignite a way of nationwide momentum and delight amid the crippling pandemic.
“People are depressed,” mentioned Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition determine unaffiliated with Navalny, including that many individuals have been angered by Navalny’s detention however afraid to heed his name for road protests. “Many people are threatened by the regime because people were sent to prison for just participating in actions and meetings.”
“Putin is losing popularity, and law enforcement and the FSB and repression will be the key instruments to sustain power,” Gudkov mentioned. “If you can’t buy loyalty, you can trade on fears. You can intimidate people and threaten people to prevent them from participating in actions. That’s the trend in our country.”
On the finish of the video, Navalny urges folks to “believe in our strength” and take to the streets.
“All we have to do is stop being patient. Stop wasting your life and your taxes enriching these people,” he mentioned. “Our future is in our hands.”
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned by Russian state safety crew, report says
Alexei Navalny was as soon as a mere annoyance to the Kremlin. His poisoning reveals how a lot that has modified.
In Russia, robust new legal guidelines and stepped-up defiance overseas mark Putin’s shift towards unfettered management