The Debate

Navalny sentenced: Can Putin silence Russia's anti-corruption movement?

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE © FRANCE 24
By: François PICARD Follow | Charles WENTE | Juliette LAURAIN
43 min

Alexei Navalny is in the dock this Tuesday, but who is the one on trial in the court of public opinion? First poisoned, then jailed, the anti-corruption crusader faces up to three-and-a-half years in jail for violating the parole of a 2014 money laundering conviction while convalescing in Germany. Tens of thousands of Russians have taken to the streets over the past two weeks. Last Sunday alone, police detained nearly 6,000 people – numbers unmatched since Soviet times.

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They are fired up particularly after Navalny posted a video seen more than 107 million times so far on YouTube of what critics call Putin's palace on the Black Sea. The Kremlin denies it's his property. How bothered really are Russians?

And how bothered is Vladimir Putin? He has seen off many a critic or a dissident in his two decades at the top. In Navalny, the 68-year-old Russian president faces a new sort of challenger: plugged-in, publicity savvy and who – in this bold new age of digital transparency – draws attention to an age-old patronage system up to now cloaked in mystery and intrigue. Is it enough to rattle the system and the high halls of power?

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Eva-Luna Tholance.

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