Russian blogger and dissident Alexei Navalny was sentenced to 30 days in pretrial detention just one day after he disembarked from the plane taking him back home from Germany, where he had been treated for poisoning.
- The Russian prison service has asked that a previous, suspended prison sentence of three and a half year be converted into real jail time, because Navalny violated the terms of his parole when he failed to report to Moscow authorities while he was treated in a German hospital after being poisoned in a Siberian airport.
- The U.S. government and the European Union demanded Navalny’s immediate release but stopped short of indicating what they might do if the Russian government ignored their pleas.
- German doctors established three months ago that Navalny had been poisoned by novichok, a rare nerve agent known to be used by Russian security services against personalities deemed hostile to the regime.
- Russia has denied involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov stating on Monday that the latest protests were an attempt by Western governments to “distract from the current crisis of the liberal model.”
The outlook: Two EU countries have already asked for sanctions against Russia to be considered if Navalny isn’t freed soon. But with Europe divided about the severity of a potential riposte, the force of the Western reaction to the latest development will have to be determined by the new Biden administration.