Navalny’s team suspends further protests until the spring, refocusing on campaign efforts ahead of Russia’s fall parliamentary elections
Opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s associates announced on Thursday that they do not intend to stage further protests in the coming weekends, suspending a campaign that has mobilized thousands of Russians in recent weeks and led to arrests across the country for supposedly unlawful assemblies.
Appearing on the independent television network Dozhd, Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, said the next demonstrations won’t be until the spring and summer:
“If we go out every week, we’ll get thousands more arrested and hundreds more beaten. The campaign offices’ work will be paralyzed and it will be impossible to continue our election work. [That kind of paralysis] isn’t what Alexey is asking of us. Alexey asks us to concentrate on the fall [when Russia holds parliamentary elections]. We’ll get him out of prison using foreign policy methods.”
On February 2, a Moscow court converted Alexey Navalny’s “Yves Rocher” probation sentence into prison time. Based on the ruling and pending an appeal, Navalny will spend the next two years and eight months behind bars.
On January 22 and 31, dozens of cities across Russia hosted mass demonstrations demanding Navalny’s release from jail. On February 2, following Navalny’s prison sentence, protesters rallied in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Over the course of all these demonstrations, police arrested more than 10,000 people. The authorities have also opened 50 felony investigations involving protesters’ actions.