In Responding to Navalny’s Prison Sentence, the West Has Limited Options

MIN READFeb 2, 2021 | 19:46 GMT

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears on a screen via a video link from Moscow's penal detention center during a court hearing of an appeal against his arrest in Krasnogorsk, Russia, on Jan. 28, 2021. 


In response to the jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the United States and Europe will struggle to find penalties that actually reverse the Kremlin’s behavior, thus keeping Russia’s relationship with the West at an impasse. On Feb. 2, a judge sentenced Navalny to 3.5 years in a corrective labor colony, minus time already served under house arrest, for a total of two years and eight months. The sentence comes after the judge agreed to the government’s request to convert Navalny’s suspended sentence for a 2014 fraud conviction into a prison term. For years, Navalny has been repeatedly detained for short periods, but until now, Russian authorities had avoided permanently imprisoning him....

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