Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny voluntarily landed on Russian soil on Sunday and immediately arrested. The aircraft with which he flew from Berlin to Moscow had to divert at the last minute to another airport. It landed at Sheremetyevo, Moscow‘s largest airport and not as planned on Vnukovo, where a few hundred supporters were waiting for the opposition member. “The EU must act quickly, and if it is not released, we must consider imposing measures,” Lithuania responds.
Navalny was arrested at passport control. His lawyer wasn’t allowed to go with him.
Police detained several people at Vnukovo and removed a crowd from the terminal. Supporters shouted slogans like “Russia will be free” and “Navalny! Navalny!”
Navalny recovered in Germany in recent months after he was most likely poisoned in his own country with novitsjok, a nerve poison that was once developed in the Soviet Union. President Vladimir Putin‘s outspoken opponent threatened to be arrested on his return and, according to his lawyer, risks imprisonment for years. “Me, arrested? I’m an innocent person,” he said to reporters when he boarded the plane.
“ This is the best moment of the past five months,” he told the many journalists who are also on the aircraft. “I feel great. Finally I return to my hometown.” The politician is accompanied by his wife and his spokeswoman.
The Russian authorities had already made it clear that they want to detain him. The politician is accused of failing to comply with the conditions of a suspended imprisonment imposed on him for alleged embezzlement.
Russian prison service confirmed Navalny‘s on a BOLO list last week. He would have failed to report regularly to the authorities. Navalny argued that he could not report because he was treated in Germany. He also insisted that his conviction was unjustified.
The politician is known as louse in the fur of the Kremlin. He suddenly became very ill last year aboard a Russian domestic flight. He first ended up in a hospital in Siberia and was later transferred to Germany. There, researchers found that he was poisoned with novitchoke. Bellingcat investigative collective later linked the Russian security service FSB to the alleged assassination attempt. Russia is often taking out political opponents in an unorthodox manner.
The Russian police
at least four allies of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow on Sunday. They were there to greet Navalny after his return from Germany. The call police wiped the place where about 200 supporters were waiting for him.
Ivan Zhdanov, head of Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation, said on Twitter that important ally Lyubov Sobol was one of the arrests. Footage of local journalists showed that the police were taking her and the others away. According to Russian media, about 10 people have been arrested.
EU countries angry
The EU Member States Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia immediately called for European action against Moscow after the arrest. The three Baltic States call the arrest completely unacceptable.
The three countries demand the immediate release of Navalny, tweeted the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Landsbergis. “The EU must act quickly, and if it is not released, we must consider imposing measures,” he added.
A top advisor to future US President Biden also considers that the arrest of the Russian opposition leader Navalni by the Russians is a violation of human rights. These “attacks” by Russian rulers in the Kremlin are also an insult to the Russian people who want their voice to be heard, tweets the future National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.