Navalny ally Volkov says 'language of power', sanctions can free Kremlin critic

European foreign ministers are expected to agree on Monday to impose sanctions on allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to the jailing of Navalny.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who is accused of slandering a Russian World War Two veteran, stands inside a defendant dock during a court hearing in Moscow, Russia. (Reuters)
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who is accused of slandering a Russian World War Two veteran, stands inside a defendant dock during a court hearing in Moscow, Russia. (Reuters)
Published on Feb 21, 2021 12:59 PM IST
Copy Link
Reuters | , Vilnius, Russia

Russia would only consider releasing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny if its leadership was hit with painful personal sanctions, a close ally said ahead of a meeting with European policymakers in Brussels on Sunday.

European foreign ministers are expected to agree on Monday to impose sanctions on allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to the jailing of Navalny.

Navalny was arrested last month on his return from Germany following treatment for poisoning with what many Western countries say was a nerve agent. He was jailed on Feb. 2 for violating parole on what he and the Western countries said were trumped-up charges. He lost an appeal on Saturday.

Leonid Volkov, Navalny's chief of staff, told Reuters on Saturday he believes Putin would only consider releasing him if hit by sanctions.

"Putin is a dictator, but he is quite rational. If the upsides of having Navalny in prison become less than the downsides, he will change his decision," said Volkov.

"If many of his closest allies become unhappy, this can be dangerous to Putin and this could lead him to decide to change his mind," Volkov added. "Or maybe not - but sanctions is the best thing that Europe can do now."

In Brussels on Sunday at the invitation of Lithuania, where he has been sheltering since 2019, Volkov said he will tell policymakers to use the "language of power" towards the Russian government, as he believes Putin sees bridge-building attempts by the West as a sign of weakness.

Asked to comment on Navalny’s political future after the court decision on Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “It is absolutely none of our business.”

Navalny's allies have published a list of 35 people they believe should be sanctioned.

His supporters are now gearing up to organise a "huge peaceful protest" in Russia this spring, Volkov said.

Navalny's organization will then attempt to prevent Putin's party from achieving a comfortable win at elections in September by campaigning for its rivals, said Volkov.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • An image created during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 1996 to 1997, shows the hands of a patient with a rash due to monkeypox.

    Monkeypox outbreak: UK health experts warn gay, bisexual men against the virus

    Are gay and bisexual communities more vulnerable to the new monkeypox virus? The new virus - now spreading across Europe and also reported in the United States - has already alarmed health experts. Now, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency has said recent confirmed cases are predominantly from those who are gay or bisexual or are men who have sex with men. The UKHSA is contacting potential close contacts of the infected patients.

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attends the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ virtual meeting, in New Delhi. (PTI)

    China’s Xi urges BRICS countries to strengthen cooperation

    Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday said the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – need to strengthen political trust and security cooperation and help stabilise international relations at a time of global turbulence. China has instead blamed the conflict on the aggressive policies of the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) in eastern Europe.

  • A man rides a bicycle on a street seen through a fence of a compound in lockdown during a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in the Jing'an district, in Shanghai. (AFP)

    WHO clears China’s CanSino Covid vaccine for emergency use

    The World Health Organisation on Thursday granted an emergency use authorisation for Chinese manufacturer CanSinBIO's Convidecia Covid-19 vaccine , the third Chinese vaccine to be granted such clearance. “The vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against Covid-19 and... the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh risks,” the UN health agency said in a statement. It was found to have 64% efficacy against symptomatic disease and 92% against severe Covid-19, the statement said.

  • The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama watching at a block of ice from the Khardung La glacier presented to him by India's climate activist Sonam Wangchuk (not pictured) on the occasion of the Earth Day in McLeod Ganj. (AFP)

    China accuses US of ‘interference’ after top official meets the Dalai Lama

    Beijing on Thursday criticised the meeting of a senior American diplomat and the 14th Dalai Lama, calling it a violation of Washington's commitment to the position that Tibet is a part of China. Explicitly referring to the Dalai Lama as a “separatist”, the Chinese foreign ministry said the US also interfered in its “internal affairs” by appointing a special official for Tibetan affairs.

  • Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21, suspected of violations of the laws and norms of war, is seen inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Kyiv, Ukraine May 18, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

    'Forgive me…': Russian solider to wife of Ukraine civilian he murdered

    'I acknowledge my blame… I ask you to forgive me' - the words of a 21-year-old Russian soldier on trial for war crimes in Ukraine, specifically the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old civilian in the northeast Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28. A tank commander, Vadim Shishimarin, is the first Russian soldier to stand trial for war crimes in Ukraine and pleaded guilty Wednesday.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 19, 2022