Navalny described as ‘the man Putin fears the most’ | The Wall Street Journal | World News | Russia
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, February 2, 2021.
The news that a court in Moscow sentenced the leader of the Russian opposition, Alexei Navalny, to two years and eight months in prison, caused a negative reaction from many high-ranking Congressmen, both among Democrats and Republicans. On Tuesday, several senators issued statements condemning Moscow’s actions..
Democrat Senator Mark Warner, new chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Intelligence, called the actions of the Putin regime «absurdly violent» and demanded that the Kremlin release Navalny and thousands of peaceful demonstrators detained by the security forces «simply because they embarrassed Vladimir Putin». Warner also stressed that he admired Navalny’s courageous act, who returned to Russia, knowing that by doing so he was putting his life in danger..
Navalny’s act «inspired tens of thousands of ordinary Russians to publicly demand an end to government corruption. Russian authorities must immediately end brutal repression and release Alexei Navalny along with thousands of peaceful demonstrators», – Warner said, calling on Congress and the Biden administration to hold the Russian officials responsible for the repression to justice.
Republican Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, named the ruling of the Moscow court «politically motivated», but an unjust sentence – «further evidence of the corruption of the judicial system in the country».
«Today’s hearing was a mockery of justice in a country that claims to be world leader», – Risch said, demanding that the Russian authorities immediately release Navalny and the participants in peaceful demonstrations.
«The disgusting behavior demonstrated by the Russian authorities towards their citizens over the past two weeks shows how frightened Vladimir Putin is by the [reaction] of the Russian people.», = stated Risch.
Republican Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Intelligence, named the trial against Navalny «a mockery of justice». Sentence «proves that Vladimir Putin is afraid of Russians who want freedom and the rule of law … The United States supports Navalny and thousands of law supporters – protesters illegally arrested in recent weeks», – Sasse said in a statement.
In turn, Republican Senator Mitt Romney tweeted that US lawmakers may present a bill this week with new anti-Russian sanctions..
«Strong leaders don’t need to jail opponents to stay in power. First, Alexei Navalny was poisoned, and then, when that failed, the Putin regime imprisoned him after a mock trial. This week we will present a bill to impose sanctions on those responsible for these actions.», – Romney noted.
Democratic Congressman Bill Keating tweeted Tuesday: «It is possible to restrict the freedom of one person, but it is impossible to suppress the desire of millions to be free. You can put one person in jail, but you cannot do that with an idea for which the time has come.».
Keating recalled that at the end of last month, he submitted to the House of Representatives the Law on Countering Russian and Other Foreign Kleptocracy (CROOK), aimed at ensuring that «prevent criminal Russian oligarchs and elites from misusing Western financial institutions and spending their ill-gotten gains abroad. We cannot allow Russian criminals to continue to profit from the Russian people», – says Keating’s tweet