Navalny’s Case as a Model of Political Processes of the Near Future

On Wednesday at the session of the Lenin district court in Kirov Alexey Navalny confirmed that he doesn't admit his guilt in the case of plunder of property of "Kirovles", the correspondent of RAPSI reports from court hall.

According to the version of investigation, Navalny being adviser of the governor of the Kirov region in May-September, 2009 colluded with the director of "Vyatkaya Forest Company" Peter Ofitserov and the general director of "Kirovles" Vyacheslav Opalev and organized plunder of more than 10 thousand cubic meter of wood. Navalny could get up to 11 years of colony for "organization of stealing of other people property on especially large scale".

Earlier the Lenin court of Kirov considered criminal case in relation to Opalev with whom the prosecutor concluded pre-judicial cooperation agreement. Opalev was sentenced to four years of imprisonment conditionally.


From editorial board: If to abstract from political component of the process, business is nasty. Navalny admits neither his guilt, nor the plunder. After all Opalev has been already condemned though his term is conditional. That is, if the court agrees with arguments of Navalny, he should recognize that it condemned Opalev unfairly?

Well, if Opalev nevertheless is condemned for plunder, the fact of crime is indisputable. The court only needs to prove participation of Navalny in it. As condemned Opalev evidently found common language with investigation bodies, it is necessary to understand that he is ready to give evidences against Navalny – say, under the threat of review of the case "in connection with newly opened circumstances" and transformation of conditional sentence into real.

If to return to policy, we can see the same situation in the case of Udaltsov-Razvozzhayev-Lebedev and Targamadze who joined them in absentia. On the base of some transaction with investigation Lebedev’s case was separated and Lebedev had been already condemned, I believe, on the base of own evidence. He will act as witness from in the case of Udaltsov and Razvozzhayev who remained. Naturally, possibilities of investigation to put pressure upon already condemned person serving time are almost boundless.

For long time opposition underestimated the power, while it appeared to be clever. Each political case is run strictly individually. Udaltsov is patriotic? Well, here you are case about "the Georgian espionage". Navalny fights against corruption? Here you are case of corruption in the Kirov region. And so on.

Nevertheless let’s note that generally not very prominent activists are involved in political cases, leaders of opposition are mainly "witnesses". There’s a game in it - citizens are as though told: "Look, the ranks are pressed, while "leaders" continue to give interview".

Unless the matter is in plunder of woods somewhere in Vyatka?

There will be serious social shifts in the near future, masses of people can start moving – we have crisis after all. The authorities do everything possible that support on new leaders was impossible. So that it won’t happen that people will go to the street, where Udaltsov already waits for them: "To the Kremlin, comrades!" They feel themselves good in the Kremlin, they don’t want strangers. While if potential leaders will be tarred in shit, people will hang about for some time and go home to drink vodka. Well, such is the logic.

It seems to me that it’s the reason of uncertainty of the power in Navalny’s case. After all their target is not to send Alexey to prison. The target is to dirty him that it would be impossible to wash. As it was done with Gudkov, with Ilya Ponomarev recently. Generally, as all others. They dream to do it with all.

If the trial and sentence will turn to be unconvincing, but Alexey will be all the same sent to prison, he can leave prison the Russian Nelson Mandela. Obviously the task is not so.

It is much more favorable to dirty, of course, that it was clear to all that there was theft and then not to imprison. That there were conversations: "The old woman is imprisoned because she hit policeman with the slippers, while he is released for the theft of 10 thousands of cubic meter of wood”.

Here you are the task, as Navalny being interested party understands real situation and shouldn’t "let to dirty himself”, better “let to send to prison”. Though the alternative is difficult for Alexey, he is put before choice - either to go to prison or to lose. Difficult choice.

In some way this process has to become model for other who expect political processes. Choice between freedom and political reputation.

ánatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk