Russia has issued a warrant for arrest against a known employee of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. It is Leonid Volkov, who lives in Lithuania.
The Russian authorities announced earlier that Volkov is being prosecuted for calling on young people to participate in illegal protests via social media. This can be punished by a three-year imprisonment. A court in Moscow confirmed that the well-known opposition member is on a list of wanted persons used in several former Soviet states, but not in Lithuania.
Volkov has called on his fellow countrymen to hold a light protest on Valentine‘s Day against Navalny’s punishment. He was previously sentenced to 3.5 years in a penal colony, of which he has to serve two years and eight months. Volkov wants people to shine outside their home with the flashlight of their mobile phones on Sunday. The opposition member also suggested that Russians can put candles in the form of a heart. They can then spread images of that through social media. The action should start at 18.00 Dutch time and last a quarter of an hour.
The opposition wants Navalny to be released and tries to put pressure on the authorities through such actions. According to Volkov, the riot police can do little against such a brief protest in homes. “It may seem that those 15 minutes will not change anything, but they will change everything,” he wrote via message service Telegram.
The authorities do not like the actions of the opposition. According to TASS press agency, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that members of the Navalny team are given instructions from NATO countries. Opposition members were also accused of being “traitors” for calling for international sanctions against top figures in their home country.
Navalny was sentenced for failing to comply with the conditions of a suspended imprisonment imposed on him for embezzlement. He should have reported to the Russian authorities during the period when he recovered from poisoning with a nerve poison in Germany.