Another Participant In January Pro-Navalny Rallies In Moscow Gets Prison Term

A court in Moscow has sentenced a man to three years and three months in prison for setting the wheel of a police car on fire during the January 31 rally in support of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

The Presnensky district court on October 20 found 26-year-old Sergei Vasilenko guilty of damaging police property, and sentenced him the same day.

Vasilenko was arrested and charged in February. It is unknown how he pled.

He is one of several people who have been given prison terms or suspended sentences in recent months for attacking police or police equipment during the nationwide demonstrations held on January 23 and January 31 to protest against Navalny’s arrest.

The Kremlin critic was detained at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack in Siberia in August 2020 with what several European laboratories concluded was a military-grade chemical nerve agent.

Navalny has claimed his poisoning was ordered directly by President Vladimir Putin, which the Kremlin denies.

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered politically motivated. His 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted to a jail term, though the court said he will serve 2 1/2 years in prison, given time he had been held in detention.

More than 10,000 Navalny supporters were detained across Russia during and after the January rallies. Many of the detained men and women were either fined or given several-day jail terms At least 90 were charged with criminal misdeeds and several have been fired by their employers.

On October 20, European lawmakers awarded Navalny the Sakharov Prize, the European Union’s highest human rights honor.

With reporting by Novaya gazeta, TASS, Interfax, and Mediazona