Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Thursday he expects a Russian court to deliver a “Stalinist” verdict on extremism charges on Friday as he urged supporters to continue “cold-blooded” opposition activities.
Prosecutors have requested a jail term of 20 years for Navalny on charges that include financing extremist activities, publicly inciting extremist activities and “rehabilitating Nazi ideology.”
“It will be a long [prison] term, ‘Stalinist’ as they call it,” read the message penned by Navalny and published online by his associates.
“If they asked for 20 [years, the judge] will give 18 or something like that. It doesn’t matter much because the terrorism case is coming up next, where they could add another 10 years,” the activist said.
Navalny said in April that he could face life in prison in a separate trial over terrorism charges.
In Thursday’s post, he accused Russian authorities of “jailing hundreds” of activists to “frighten millions” of opposition-minded Russians from taking action.
“Whatever sentence they have planned, it won’t achieve its purpose if you understand what it’s for and answered ‘I’m not afraid,’ with your daily cold-blooded contribution to the fight for freedom in Russia, however small,” he said.
“There’s no shame in choosing the safest way to resist. There’s shame in doing nothing, in letting yourself be intimidated,” Navalny wrote, calling on supporters to continue protesting despite Russia’s crackdown on dissent since invading Ukraine last year.
Navalny is serving a nine-year prison sentence on fraud charges that his supporters see as punishment for his political work.
The trial is being held behind closed doors at a maximum security prison, some 250 kilometers east of Moscow, where Navalny is jailed.
Prosecutors have requested he serve his additional sentence in an even more restrictive prison.
AFP contributed reporting.