On February 20, the court sentenced opposition blogger Alexei Navalny to a fine of 850 thousand rubles in a libel case against veteran of the Great Patriotic War Ignat Artemenko.
The case was initiated after in the summer of 2020, Navalny published a post on social networks in which he sharply criticized the video on the amendments to the Constitution. In the video, various public figures, including Artemenko, urged citizens to vote for the amendments. Commenting on the recording, Navalny called all the participants in the video “corrupt lackeys” and “traitors.” Later, Artemenko’s acquaintances and the veteran himself saw this.
During the trial, Navalny pleaded not guilty. He claimed that he did not want to offend the veteran, “did not notice him” in the video and did not know who he was. Navalny called the actions of the veteran dependent, and he himself was a “doll” that is being manipulated. From insults during the first meeting, the veteran felt bad. Further, his representatives took part in the court. Navalny did not apologize to the veteran.
Navalny behaved rudely and familiarly towards not only the victim, but also other participants in the meeting. So, he wished everyone involved in the case to “burn in hell”.
“The judge found the slander proved proven, considering that although Navalny did not admit his guilt, it was proved by the testimony of witnesses and the victim himself, who testified“ knowingly and voluntarily ”. When passing the verdict, it was taken into account that the blogger has two minor children, as well as the fact that he had already been tried several times. Although it seemed to many observers that the imposed fine in the amount of 850 thousand rubles was a rather mild punishment for the act committed. Supporters of the blogger will surely help to collect this amount. But from a legal point of view, it was impossible to sentence Navalny in this case to imprisonment. However, he already has one term.
As a reminder, in addition to a fine in the libel case, Navalny was previously sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 3 years and 6 months in the Yves Rocher case. Taking into account the terms that he has already spent under arrest, he has 2.5 years left to serve in the colony.
This is how the latest court decision is interpreted Victor Poturemsky, Director of Political Analysis, Institute of Social Marketing (INSOMAR):
– The verdict is well-deserved. The line of conduct and the statements that Navalny made to the veteran were adequately assessed under the current legislation.
If you look at sociology, the population as a whole does not support Navalny, and believes that he is being treated too softly. The biggest question is why Navalny once received two suspended sentences in a row. “For what reason did he find himself in a privileged position?” is the most popular question that people ask after getting acquainted with the case of an opposition blogger.
In this regard, one should not expect large popular protests in his defense. I think that this time there will be no significant actions in support of Navalny. In general, protest activity is declining.