Navalny Pays Fine In Libel Case Involving World War II Veteran

Imprisoned Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has paid a fine of 850,000 rubles ($11,500) in a libel case involving a World War II veteran, the press service of the Moscow court that heard the case said on December 2.

Navalny was accused of slandering the veteran, who took part in a promotional video in support of last year’s constitutional amendments that cleared the way for President Vladimir Putin to run for two more terms in office after 2024.

The trial centered on a social-media post from June 2020 in which Navalny, one of Putin’s most vocal critics, described the people in the video as “traitors,” “people with no conscience,” and “corrupt lackeys.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee argued that the comments contained “deliberately false information denigrating the honor and dignity” of the World War II veteran, Ignat Artyomenko.

The anti-corruption campaigner described the case as politically motivated and a fabricated Kremlin public relations campaign meant to harass and discredit him.

Navalny had a testy exchange with Judge Vera Akimova during a hearing in February in which he accused her of having “poor knowledge of the Criminal Code,” among other accusations.

Akimova later found Navalny guilty of libel and ordered him to pay the fine. The press service of the Babushkinsky district court in Moscow told Interfax on December 2 that Navalny paid it in full.

The libel trial came after the Kremlin critic was ordered to serve 2 years and 8 months in prison for violating the terms of probation imposed from a widely criticized 2014 embezzlement case. He is currently serving that sentence.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL’s Russian Service and Interfax