The Corner

Prominent anti-Putin Critic Arrested after Being Convicted of Fraud

Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist who for years has been one of the Kremlin’s most vocal critics, was arrested today near Moscow’s Red Square for taking part in a protest unsanctioned by the government. The arrest came shortly after his being convicted of fraud and given a suspended sentence of three and a half years, and the protest was in response to the Kremlin’s treatment of both Navalny and his brother, Oleg. Oleg, who was also convicted on the same charge, will have to serve out his prison sentence, a punishment which prompted Alexei Navalny to yell at the sentencing judge, “Aren’t you ashamed? Why are you jailing him? . . . To punish me more?”

Navalny, an attorney by profession, first came to prominence in Russia through his Live Journal blog, which has chronicled numerous instances of cronyism and corruption both in the Kremlin and among prominent members of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. (In a 2011 radio debate with a high-ranking party representative, Navalny referred to United Russia as the “party of crooks and thieves,” a phrase which became widely popular among anti-Putin activists, especially in the 2012 protests against Putin’s reelection.) Frequent arrests, threats, bans from social media, and previous convictions on trumped-up charges have not stopped Navalny from exposing the rampant corruption and abuse of power within Russia’s government. He was even able to capture 27 percent of the vote in Moscow’s 2013 mayoral elections despite the usual government tampering.

As the Kremlin’s Ukraine invasion backfires and Russia’s economy continues its downward spiral, it is no surprise that Putin is stepping up his effort to stifle dissent at home.

Nat Brown is a deputy web editor at Foreign Affairs and a former deputy managing editor of National Review Online.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More