Supporters of Russian Navalny demonstrate in Berlin

BERLIN (HPD) — Supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny have installed a replica of the tiny “punishment cell” in which he spent 91 days in 2022 in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, to try to raise awareness about his situation.

A hundred people, including Oleg, Navalny’s brother, attended the demonstration on the famous Unter den Linden boulevard, some with signs calling for the release of Russian political prisoners and others demanding that President Vladimir Putin be prosecuted for crimes of war in Ukraine.

“There is a connection between what happens to Alexey Navalny and the war in Ukraine,” said Leonid Volkov, president of the anti-corruption organization founded by Navalny more than 10 years ago.

Volkov said the poisoning of Navalny in 2020 and his imprisonment upon his return from Germany – he is now serving a nine-year sentence in Russia for fraud – were part of the crackdown on the Russian opposition before launching the attack on Ukraine.

He said that Navalny has spoken out against the war in his court hearings. “Every time he does it, they punish him,” he added.

Russian authorities are responding to external pressure, such as the recent petition by hundreds of doctors for Navalny to be treated, Volkov said.

“Maybe there are signs that they are listening in the Kremlin,” he said. “Not because they are good people, which they are not, not because they are humanitarian, but because they are vulnerable.”

Volkov hinted that Putin could use Navalny in future peace negotiations.

“He knows that at some point he will have to negotiate, and then there will be many options on the table,” he added.

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