Navalny Going Back to Dangerous Territory

Opposition leader could face jail with Sunday arrival in Russia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2021 6:07 AM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2021 6:45 AM CST
Defiant Navalny Going Back to Russia
In this handout photo taken from a video released on Wednesday, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures as he records an address.   (Navalny instagram account via AP)

Now almost fully recovered from Novichok poisoning, Alexei Navalny is ready to head home. The Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist said Wednesday that he had purchased a plane ticket that would see him return to his home country from Germany, where he's been recovering since August, on Sunday. Russian authorities ordered Navalny to return to Russia in December to fulfill the terms of a suspended sentence, stemming from a 2014 fraud conviction, while touting new fraud accusations related to the alleged misuse of supporter donations, per CNN. And on Monday, the Federal Penitentiary Service officially requested that Navalny be jailed for violating the terms of his suspended sentence. Navalny argues all this is meant to prevent his return to Russia.

"Putin, who gave the order to murder me, screeches all over his bunker and tells his servants to do everything so that I do not return … They are doing everything to scare me," Navalny said in an Instagram video shared Wednesday. "But what they are doing there is not of much interest to me. Russia is my country," said Navalny, who vowed to return before parliamentary elections this September. Navalny and his brother were previously accused of embezzling $540,000 from a Russian subsidiary of French beauty brand Yves Rocher. Navalny received a suspended sentence, while his brother was sent to prison. Navalny argues the case was politically motivated, just like new claims that Navalny improperly spent $4.8 million in supporter donations, per Deutsche Welle. (More Alexei Navalny stories.)

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