Jailed Alexei Navalny, a lawmaker in the Russian opposition, stated on Thursday that he anticipated receiving a “Stalinist” punishment that would add around 18 years to his current prison sentence.
The forecast was made by Navalny, the most vocal opponent of President Vladimir Putin in his home country, just before a court hearing when decisions will be made over a slew of fresh accusations against him for supposed radical activities.
“It’s going to be a long sentence. What is called ‘Stalinist’,” said Navalny, 47, who is able to post on social media via his supporters and lawyers.
Prosecutors have requested an extra 20 years on the basis of the new charges. Navalny said the severity of the sentence was intended to stun and intimidate Russians, but he urged them not to submit.
“When the sentence is announced, please think about only one, really important thing — what else can I personally do to resist? To stop the villains and thieves in the Kremlin from destroying my country and my future? What can I do, weighing all the risks and taking into account all the circumstances?” he said in his message to supporters.
Navalny is already serving sentences totalling 11-1/2 years on fraud and other charges which he says are bogus, and his political movement has been outlawed and declared “extremist”.
The Kremlin, which makes a point of never speaking Navalny’s name, denies persecuting him and has said it is not even following the case.