The Navalny Verdict

Livestream in Russian, English.

He’s been found guilty, as expected. The main question is what the sentence will be: Suspended, or a real term. Here is my prediction (which on developments so far might well turn out to be awfully wrong).


UPDATE: Even if he is found guilty and sentenced, he still has the choice of appealing his sentence. This will give him enough time to contest the Moscow elections.


  1. FWIW, I don’t agree with the verdict. At worst, what he did with Ofitserov was punishable by Article 165, not Article 160 of which he was found guilty. One can also reasonably argue that he was only guitly of overstepping his authority as a pro bono adviser, which carries only minor legal consequences.

  2. What I don’t get are the loud calls for a direct Kremlin intervention into these cases (same song and dance as when the PR stuff ran rampant). Note that by saying this I do not discount the distinct possibility of just conclusions should such a case occur (and vice versa – unjust, and perhaps cases orchestrated top-down from the beginning as many will contend, though all too often those allegations are rather silly…). But wouldn’t that only serve to confirm a thoroughly corrupt state? Say spin doctors residing in the halls of might advising the government on when to delve into legal cases and directly “sort things out” at their own discretion in order to bolster their image to shallow foreign media, I mean… Say what?

    Is the solution to “bad” corruption “good” corruption?

    Now, it’s fairly well established that the Kremlin (and Russia as a whole) has a pretty bad grip on “public relations” and that department could definitely use some good advise (or rather, a total change of mentality), but still, this is a common implied request that I do not understand in the scope of things.

    Pardon my possible short-sightedness, I’m fairly new to these political games and I am by no means educated on the matter so I might just come across as sounding stupid. If that’s the case – do enlighten me!

    • Well said, Joseph; the same quackers who pontificate that Russia does not have the rule of law are the same who demand that its decisions be overturned on each occasion that those decisions do not meet with their approval. What they mean is that the rule of law in Russia should be informed by western guidance and direction.

      It is not so much that the Russian government is bad at PR – although that is part of the problem – as it is that western English-speaking networks either will not carry the positions taken by the government, or report them with tongue-in-cheek spin which makes it obvious the speaker believes the opinion offered is stupid, a lie or a stupid lie.

      • Exactly. We see the same thing with regards to Ukraine; accusations that Ukraine doesn’t have the rule of law and that the judiciary is corrupt but then calls for Ukraine’s government to interfere in the judicial process in order to “free a princess”. It’s that schizophrenia exhibiting itself again I would think.

  3. My prediction, which appeared on Kremlin Stooge, is that he would be found guilty and would be sentenced for 5 years. I got Navalny’s sentence exactly right. I thought Ofitserov would get 3 years, so I was out by one year for that one. I am sorry for Ofitserov because I think Navalny led him on.

    As I also pointed out 5 years is exactly in line with the sort of sentence a first time offender who pleaded not guilty but who was convicted for a like offence would get in Britain.

    The only pertinent question in this case is whether Navalny was properly convicted following a fair trial. I have been following the trial carefully on Kremlin Stooge. Nothing about the trial suggests to me that it was in any way unfair. I am afraid I think Navalny was properly convicted and that the charge against him was the correct one and that it was properly made out. Certainly he did wildly overstep his mark as a pro bono adviser but I think the facts go far beyond that and substantiate the charge. Navalny was given an opportunity during the trial to provide a plausible explanation of the facts that would exculpate him of the charge but he not only failed to do so but the explanation he did give was in places either obviously untrue or simply incredible.

    If I can find the time (difficult at the moment) I am going to try and write a comment on my blog about this case. I can’t guarantee that.

  4. Doug M. says:

    Was Navalny allowed to call any witnesses for the defense?

    Doug M.

    • Dear Doug,

      Yes he was, one of them being Maria Gaidar (the daughter of the former acting Prime Minister) who was also a pro bono adviser for the Kirov Region. He was also allowed to cross examine the prosecution witnesses and did so himself, which since he is not experienced in cross examination I thought was a mistake. He did this despite having a legal team to support him