Russian authorities claim Navalny’s five months in Germany violated a previous suspended sentence for a conviction he made on false charges. Navalny is kept in the infamous Matrosskaya Tishina Jail.
On Saturday, protesters took to the streets in dozens of cities across Russia, including thousands that had gathered in Moscow city center. “The situation is getting worse, it is utter lawlessness,” Andrei Gorkyov, a protester in Moscow, told the Associated Press. “And if we keep silent, it will go on forever.”
“The US supports the right of all people to peaceful protest and freedom of expression. The measures taken by the Russian authorities suppress these rights, ”said Rebecca Ross, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Moscow, in a tweet on Saturday. “Russian authorities [are] peaceful protesters to arrest journalists – seems to be [a] Concerted Freedom of Speech Suppression Campaign, Peaceful Assembly. This continues years of Russia tightening restrictions, taking repressive measures against civil society, independent media and political opposition. ”
During a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Biden’s Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said Russia was “very high” on the government’s agenda and pledged support for Navalny.
“Navalny is a voice for millions and millions of Russians, and their voice needs to be heard,” Blinken said, adding that the Kremlin’s “attempts to silence that voice by silencing Mr. Navalny were something are that we strongly condemn. “
Biden will order a “full intelligence assessment” of Russia’s actions against Navalny, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
After Navalny was arrested, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, called for his immediate release.
“The perpetrators of the outrageous assault on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan wrote in one Tweet Sunday. “The Kremlin’s attacks on Mr. Navalny are not just a violation of human rights, but an affront to the Russian people who want their voices to be heard.”
Garry Kasparov, a well-known Putin critic and chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, said on Saturday that people who want to support Russians should “tell their politicians to treat him like the mafia terror sponsor he is”.
“Putin has spent 20 years building the security forces and plundering the country while Russia stagnates,” said Kasparov, Russia’s former world chess champion, in one Tweet Saturday. “[Protestors] Come out to support Navalny and her own future. “