It’s all kicking off in Russia following the sentencing this morning of Alexei Navalny to five years in jail for alleged embezzlement. Navalny, who rose to prominence as the voice of the opposition during the anti-Putin protests last year, has denied the charges, saying the trial was politically motivated. The 37-year-old has been a vocal opponent of Putin, using his LiveJournal blog to expose corruption allegations. As he was led away from the court in Kirov this morning, he tweeted: “Don’t sit around doing nothing.”
The US and the EU have both questioned the conviction, saying that it raised questions about the rule of law in Russia. Critics of the regime believe the harsh sentence was intended to prevent Navalny from running for the mayor of Moscow. Even Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, took to Twitter to condemn the verdict: “Everything I know about this case ... unfortunately confirms we do not have independent courts.” Russians have been quick to rally to his defence with more than 25 protests organised in cities across the country.
A number of websites have reportedly been down including Rain TV, the country’s leading liberal broadcaster. Earlier in the day, Rain TV linked the outcome of the trial to the cancellation of a music gig at Moscow’s Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design. The decision to cancel popular Russian rock band Mumiy Troll was made following a request by Otkritie Financial Corporation, the company sponsoring the event. A spokesperson for Strelka told The Calvert Journal that the concert was cancelled for technical reasons. Here’s the day so far in pictures.
Navalny hugs his wife, Yulia, after being sentenced to five years. Ellen Barry, the New York Times Moscow correspondent, tweets the picture, adding: “This is the one we’ll be looking at for years.” Photograph: RIA Novosti
A map by Trendsmap showing the number of tweets containing the word “Navalny”
The front cover of Afisha magazine today featuring Navalny
Blogger and photographer Ilya Varlamov posted a map online showing the cities across Russia where protests are planned
The Russian stock market nosedived by 2% following the news about Navalny.