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Navalny calls for further protests throughout Russia

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Navalny calls for further protests throughout Russia

Photo: Pavel Golovkin/ AP Photo

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has called for large anti-Putin demonstrations today.

Navalny, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, is currently awaiting a hearing to determine if his suspended sentence for a 2014 embezzlement case will be converted into a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence. Navalny was detained for allegedly violating parole by traveling to Germany to receive medical treatment after being poisoned in Russia in August 2020. After being detained, Navalny urged his supports to protest against Putin’s autocratic regime, sparking protests on January 23 that saw more than 100,000 people attended rallies across Russia.

While Navalny’s imprisonment has galvanised widespread opposition to the president, Putin is likely to employ force to suppress and silence any further protests, making it unlikely these protests will cause any serious changes to the Russian government. It is highly probable the US, UK, and EU will coordinate further sanctions against Russia if Putin does not release Navalny and continues to violently suppress protesters. Targets may include Russian sovereign debt or financial institutions tied to Putin. Though the Russian government would be able to weather sanctions, such sanctions would still stunt economic growth and send a strong message of international condemnation to Putin’s government.

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