In Moscow, an ally of the Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny was arrested. Pavel Zelenski is suspected of “inciting extremism on the Internet” and must remain in jail until at least the end of February, according to the charges against him.
Zelenski is a cameraman at Navalnys Anti-Corruption Foundation, a platform that tries to expose corruption in Russia through videos.
Navalny reported Zelenskis arrest yesterday via Twitter. According to the opposition leader, his cameraman was arrested for a number of tweets he posted in early October, after an independent journalist set himself on fire in the city of Nizhny Novgorod in despair. Shes been clashing with the authorities for years because of her critical coverage.
“ With these words I ask all of us to stand up”, Zelenski tweeted after the journalists suicide. “I hate you, Putin,” he further wrote. “Youre behind this.”
One of Zelenskis tweets:
Navalny is also a firm critic of President Putin. In front of the European Parliament, at the end of November, he described the current Russian government as a gang of criminals, temporarily seizing power.
More than three months earlier, Navalny had escaped death when he was poisoned. The politician was hospitalized in a hospital in Omsk in August, after becoming unwell on a flight from Siberian Tomsk to Moscow.
Two days later, he was transferred to a hospital in Berlin, where doctors found that he had been poisoned with the nerve gas novitsjok. At the end of September he was discharged from the hospital. Several European leaders condemned Russia for poisoning. Russia denies any form of involvement.
Navalny plans to return to Russia for the first time since his poisoning. Hes probably landing at Vnuekovo airport in Moscow. “Russia is my country, Moscow is my city, I miss them,” he wrote this week in the Instagram report announcing his return.
The Moscow prison service has already warned Navalny that he will be arrested immediately upon arrival. All kinds of cases have been started against him in his homeland.
The prison authority wants to arrest Navalny for failing to comply with the agreements in a suspended sentence from 2014; Navalny would not have reported to the prison often enough last year. He should be in jail for 3.5 years, the authority says.