Campaign diary

Navalny’s Volgograd coordinator gets 15 days in prison

Navalny Smolensk2

Alexei Navalny listens to a United Russia supporter, complain about his investigation from six years ago. Photo by Evgeny Feldman from https://navalny.feldman.photo/

by Sarah Hurst

The coordinator of Alexei Navalny’s campaign headquarters in Volgograd, Alexei Volkov, has been sentenced to 15 days in prison ostensibly for delaying his rally there on Friday for 35 minutes. Volkov was detained during the rally and held at a police station for nearly two hours, before being released and told to come to court today.

Volkov is also facing criminal prosecution for his social media post of a Photoshopped picture of the statue The Motherland Calls, which commemorates the Battle of Stalingrad, with a green face in solidarity with Navalny when green chemicals were thrown at him. Navalny’s attacker has been identified as Alexander Petrunko from the aggressive Putinist SERB movement, which is coordinated by Russian police. Petrunko has not been arrested, but Volkov was initially sent into house arrest in his home city of St. Petersburg. His case is now in a hiatus because authorities want to recategorise it as something more serious than “insulting a symbol of Russia’s military glory”.

Another trial tomorrow

Navalny’s latest rallies in Volgograd, Izhevsk and Smolensk were again successful, despite a few Putin supporters pushing their way onto the stage in Smolensk. One of them, the rector of the local sports university, took the microphone and complained about an investigation into state purchases that Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption published six years ago. Navalny listened with a look of incredulity on his face.

Sergei Urban, Navalny’s campaign coordinator in Izhevsk, faces a trial tomorrow for “organising an unauthorised event”, although the rally there was held on private property at the invitation of a local building’s residents. While in Izhevsk Navalny placed flowers on a memorial to the seven victims of the collapse of a block of flats on Nov. 9. A resident of that building has been arrested and charged with murder. He allegedly caused a gas explosion because he heard neighbours insulting him. There have been many other similar building collapses in Russia due to accidental gas leaks.

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