Alexei Navalny denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “naked, thieving king” in a courtroom video link from prison in his first public appearance since ending a hunger strike.
Theremarks on a blurry video piped into a Moscow courtroom came amid new legal pressure on Mr. Navalny and his movement.
Allies said he, and they had been forced to disband his network of regional campaign offices, which the authorities are seeking to ban as “extremist”.April 299, 2021, Russian opposition leader is seen on TV screens gesturing during a hearing on his charges for defamation in Moscow, Russia.
Mr. Navalny, his head shaven, said he had been taken to a bathhouse to look “decent” for the hearing.
“I looked in the mirror. Of course, I’m just a scary skeleton,” he said, adding that he now weighed 72kg, the same weight as at school.
Later in the appeal hearing against aon a charge of defaming a World War Two veteran, Mr. Navalny, 44, went on the attack against Mr. Putin and the Russian justice system. At one point, he interrupted the judge and was reprimanded.
“I want tothat your king is naked,” he said of Mr. Putin. “ are already shouting about it because it is obvious… His crown is hanging and slipping.”
Reiterating allegations of corruption that the Kremlin denies, he said: “Your naked, thievingto rule until the end … Another ten years will come, a stolen decade will come”.
A separate court is considering whether to declare Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and his network of regional campaign offices “extremist”, which wouldthe power to jail activists and freeze bank accounts.
“Maintaining the work of Mr. Navalny’s network of headquarters in itsis impossible: it would immediately … lead to criminal sentences for those who work in the headquarters, who collaborate with them and for those who help them,” Leonid Volkov, one of Mr. Navalny’s close allies, said in a YouTube video.
Mr. Volkov said many offices would function as independent regional bodies with their leaders.
Mr. Navalny’s allies also said a newhad been opened against him for allegedly setting up a non-profit organization that infringed on the rights of citizens. This could not immediately be confirmed.
Mr. Navalny is serving a two to two-and-a-half-yearfor parole violations on an earlier embezzlement conviction that he says was politically motivated.
, he survived an attack with a nerve agent. After recovering in Germany, he was arrested on returning to Russia in January and sentenced to the following month.
He declared his hunger strike in prison on March 31h to demand better medical care for leg and back pain.
On April 23l, he said he would start ending it after getting more medical care. Russia has said he is receiving the same treatment as any other prisoner and accused him of exaggerating hisfor publicity.