A Moscow court ruled in favor of Alisher Usmanov on Wednesday afternoon, ordering opposition politician Alexey Navalny to retract and delete nearly a dozen publications that supposedly defame Usmanov, including an enormously popular YouTube video showing Navalny’s large investigative report into Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s alleged ties to corruption. At the time of this writing, the video has more than 21.6 million views.
Judge Marina Vasina also ordered Navalny to delete the entire website that hosts the Medvedev report, though only one section is dedicated to Usmanov’s supposed role in the prime minister’s corruption schemes.
Georgy Alburov, one of Navalny’s close associates and a member of his group, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote defiantly on Twitter that his team doesn’t plan to delete anything. The YouTube video promptly went viral on Russian social media (for a second time), following Wednesday’s verdict, in a dramatic display of the ”Streisand effect.”
Beginning on Tuesday, the whole trial lasted just two days. Yesterday, the judge rejected all of Navalny’s witness requests, including motions to call to the stand Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, and several managers at the charity to which Usmanov donated a $88.4-million mansion in 2010 — a “gift” Navalny says was a bribe to Medvedev, whose close friends supposedly run the foundation.