Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov was supposed to get back to work after the New Year’s holidays on Monday, January 18. But instead, he has cancelled his daily press briefing just hours after Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days following his return to Moscow on Sunday.
The Kremlin spokesman’s daily conference call with journalists was set to take place around noon Moscow time. Around 1:00 p.m., participants were informed that it would take place “a bit later.” Finally, at 4:30 p.m., it became known that there would be no press briefing.
On January 17, Peskov told the website Podyom that he was unaware that Navalny had been taken into custody, claiming that he was on vacation until January 18.
Peskov held his last press briefing at the end of December 2020.
Khimki City Court judge Elena Morozova remanded Alexey Navalny in custody for 30 days earlier in the day on Monday. The opposition figure will be held in pre-trial detention until his court date on January 29, in connection with a complaint filed against him by Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service.
The Russian prison authorities are seeking to revoke Navalny’s probation in the Yves Rocher case and incarcerate him under a reinstated sentence on the grounds that he violated the terms of his probation. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, minus the 10 months he spent under house arrest.
Navalny flew home to Moscow from Berlin on Sunday, January 17, after spending five months in Germany recovering from chemical nerve agent poisoning. Police detained him at Sheremetyevo International Airport and took him to a police station in Khimki, where his remand hearing was held the next day.