Person of the Week: Aleksei Navalny

posted 21 Nov 2016, 05:03 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Nov 2016, 05:07 ]
On 16 November 2016 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation overturned a criminal conviction against opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and sent the case for a retrial to be heard in Kirov. As The New York Times reported, this development potentially opens the door for Aleksei Navalny to run for office once again. However, as observers noted the retrial would also serve to keep Aleksei Navalny away from the capital. The NYT quotes Navalny as telling Russian news agencies: 'I have absolutely no desire to start traveling to Kirov again. The ruling is aimed to hamper my political activities.' 

Aleksei Navalny was convicted in 2013, the NYT reports, 'of embezzling timber worth $500,000 at the time from a state-owned company in the provincial city of Kirov in a trial which was largely perceived as a vendetta against the rising political star.'

Aleksei Navalny was convicted in 2013 two months before elections were held in Moscow for the city's mayor. As the NYT reports, in the mayoral election 'Navalny won more than a quarter of the vote, a notably strong performance amid pro-Kremlin parties' overwhelming grip on Russian politics. But when a higher court upheld his conviction later that year, Navalny was disqualified from further runs for office.' After losing appeals against this conviction in Russian courts, Aleksei Navalny applied to the European Court of Human Rights. In February 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Russia had violated Aleksei Navalny's right to a fair trial and ordered the government pay him legal costs and damages amounting to 56,000 euros.

In a trial one year later in a different case, in 2014, Aleksei Navalny together with his brother Oleg Navalny, were convicted of defrauding a French cosmetics company, Yves Rocher. While Aleksei Navalny was given a suspended sentence, Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 3½ years in prison. As the NYT notes, this second conviction was not classified as a serious crime, and is therefore one which does not disqualify Aleksei Navalny from running for office. 

Photo of Aleksei Navalny: Wikipedia

'Russian Opposition Leader Navalny's Case Sent for Retrial,' The New York Times [via Associated Press], 16 November 2016
'European Court Rules Russia Violated Navalny's Right To Fair Trial,' RFE/RL, 12 February 2016
'CASE OF NAVALNYY AND OFITSEROV v. RUSSIA,' European Court of Human Rights, 23 February 2016
'Alexei Navalny,' Wikipedia