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Extreme Punishment Awaits Protesters in Russia, Kremlin Says

MOSCOW — A day after protests swept throughout Russia in assist of a jailed opposition chief, the authorities stated Monday that some individuals face harsh punishment, together with spells within the jail system as soon as often known as the gulag.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, advised journalists on a convention name on Monday that the protests included “numerous hooligans and provocateurs” and that “the regulation needs to be utilized with the utmost severity.”

For a second consecutive weekend, tens of 1000’s of individuals turned out Sunday in cities throughout Russia to name for the discharge of Aleksei A. Navalny, the opposition chief who was jailed for 30 days final month after returning to Russia.

Mr. Navalny returned following his restoration at a German hospital after he was poisoned in August with a military-grade nerve agent, an assault that was confirmed by German, French and Swedish laboratories.

Mr. Navalny, 44, an anticorruption activist who has been lively in road protests in Russia for a decade, stated the Kremlin was behind the poisoning and wished to kill him. The Russian authorities has denied that and has questioned whether or not Mr. Navalny was actually poisoned.

The near-fatal dose of poison, a complicated nerve agent referred to as Novichok developed by the Soviet Union, was positioned in Mr. Navalny’s underwear, in response to the opposition chief, citing what he stated was a taped confession by a Russian agent.

Mr. Navalny returned to Russia although the authorities threatened to arrest him on arrival. He was then detained for violating parole on a 2014 monetary crime conviction that the European Court docket of Human Rights had dominated was politically motivated.

Mr. Navalny stated the monetary crime was concocted by the Russian authorities and referred to as accusations of violating parole absurd, since he couldn’t report twice a month to a parole officer as a result of he was evacuated from Russia to Germany whereas in a coma after the nerve agent assault.

He has been remanded to pretrial detention for 30 days. On Tuesday a court docket will contemplate imposing a jail sentence that would put him behind bars for a number of years.

The prosecutor basic’s workplace issued a assertion Monday saying that Mr. Navalny needs to be incarcerated for the parole violations, all however assuring that end result as judges defy prosecutors’ requests in solely a small variety of situations in Russia’s felony justice system.

Politically, imprisonment would point out a shift within the authorities of President Vladimir V. Putin’s dealing with of Mr. Navalny. For years, he has been ceaselessly jailed for brief phrases on minor expenses however by no means imprisoned.

Imprisoning political dissidents principally ceased within the fast post-Soviet interval however was revived, on a small and focused scale, underneath Mr. Putin.

After road protests in Moscow in 2012, courts sentenced a couple of dozen out of the tens of 1000’s of protesters to lengthy jail phrases, seemingly for instance for others.

These few dozen instances had been well-publicized to focus on the illegality of unsanctioned road actions, however the strategy averted angering massive numbers of Moscow households in a prosecutorial onslaught, risking a spiral of repression and protest. In distinction, in neighboring Belarus, police have detained no less than a whole lot of antigovernment protesters since final summer season for prolonged durations.

Throughout Sunday’s protest, the police detained 5,300 folks all through Russia, although many had been launched later within the day.

It’s unclear how vast a internet the prosecutors will now solid. A number of dozen instances had been reported that would result in spells in jail.

Mr. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, referred to individuals who behaved “roughly aggressively” towards police when calling for extreme punishments. “There might be no conversations with hooligans and provocateurs,” he stated.

Supporters of Mr. Navalny stated in a assertion printed on-line Monday that they anticipated prosecutors to justify riot expenses towards protesters based mostly on two incidents: a police automotive that caught hearth and a person on an in any other case empty road who walked right into a line of police wielding a membership. The police issued an announcement saying they had been investigating the automotive hearth as vandalism.

The assertion famous the 2 episodes had been highlighted on pro-government media and will turn into a justification for prosecuting individuals within the marches on rioting expenses, which carry lengthy sentences. Brief sentences in Russia are served in jails whereas most longer phrases are served in penal colonies.

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