After an express trial, the Moscow City Court, seized on appeal by the charismatic anti-corruption activist, decided to leave the judgment pronounced at first instance “unchanged”, stressing that it came “into force immediately”.

On March 22, Alexeï Navalny, who was already serving a sentence in a so-called “normal regime” colony, was sentenced to nine years in prison in a “severe” regime, where the conditions of detention are harsher.

It is now up to the prison authorities to transfer him to another place of detention. The name of the latter will only be announced once the opponent has arrived on site.

“The place where he is to be transferred is notorious for the torture and murder of prisoners”, nevertheless tweeted the spokesperson for Mr. Navalny, Kira Iarmich, according to which rumors evoke the colony n ° 6 of Melekhovo, in more than 200 km east of Moscow.

Mr. Navalny was accused in particular of having embezzled millions of rubles in donations paid to his anti-corruption organizations.

This sentence includes that pronounced in March 2021 for “fraud”, in a case dating back to 2014 and involving the French company Yves Rocher.

The opponent’s lawyers immediately indicated that they would appeal against this judgment.

“Yes, there are a lot of decisions of international tribunals, but it has no effect, Alexei is still not released,” Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Kobzev told the press. “Especially since there are still three investigations” against him, they observed, predicting new trials and convictions.

Alexei Navalny appeared by videoconference from the colony of Pokrov, 100 km from Moscow, where he is serving his first sentence.

Locked in a cage, he listened to the verdict carefully and looked sullen.

– “Lies” –

Called to speak just before the closing of the proceedings, the opponent did not mince his words, despite several calls to order from the court.

“I despise your court, your system,” he said, saying that this trial made “no sense”.

“Of course I don’t want to be in the cell,” he said. “I would rather see my children grow up. But I call on people not to be afraid, to be afraid is a crime against our future”.

“It is precisely you, your system and Putin who are betraying the Russian people,” he accused, taking advantage of this platform to denounce once again the Russian military offensive in Ukraine.

“This war is based on a super lie”, he declared while this word, when it designates the current offensive, launched on February 24, is prohibited in Russia, under penalty of fine or prison. “There are the same lies in this verdict as in the facts of this war,” said the opponent.

But “your time will pass, and you will burn in hell”, he concluded.

Alexei Navalny was arrested in January 2021 on his return from Berlin, where he had spent several months recovering from poisoning, for which he holds Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible.

The latter categorically denies and no investigation has been opened.

This arrest marked the starting point for the acceleration of a broad crackdown on all anti-Kremlin movements and independent media in Russia.

This has increased further since February 24 and Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a military offensive against Ukraine.

The Russian authorities have strongly increased their pressure and their legal arsenal to control communication on the conflict in Russia, threatening to impose sentences of up to 15 years in prison for the dissemination of “false information” about the Russian army.

The opponent’s main organizations had been qualified as “extremist” by the courts in June 2021, a decision which led to their closure and the prosecution of many of their activists. Many of them are now in exile.

At the end of January, Mr. Navalny was himself placed on the list of “terrorists and extremists”.