With Navalny’s whereabouts nonetheless unknown, Kremlin targets novelist Akunin | EUROtoday

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RIGA, Latvia — Jailed Russian opposition figures are incommunicado, lacking within the nation’s opaque and secretive jail system and unreachable by their attorneys and even the court docket system.

A preferred, exiled detective novelist has been branded as a terrorist and charged by Russian authorities.

Monuments to Soviet chief Joseph Stalin are popping up, the newest a museum devoted to him within the Siberian metropolis of Barnaul.

And President Vladimir Putin is ramping up his inflammatory anti-Western navy rhetoric, as his protection minister claimed that Russian weapons and navy tools had proved superior to NATO’s within the warfare on Ukraine — a boast that omitted the truth that the United States and Europe have restricted navy provides to Kyiv to restrict assaults on Russian soil.

Just days into Putin’s reelection marketing campaign — a extremely stage-managed course of by which there isn’t any doubt he’ll win — there are indicators that the Kremlin is sharpening its already extreme repression of opponents and critics, with no regard for worldwide criticism or the potential for deeper harm to relations with the West.

Moscow glows triumphant as entrance freezes and Western support for Ukraine stalls

Lawyers for Alexei Navalny, an imprisoned Putin political rival, stated Tuesday that that they had not been capable of contact him for 14 days after he was faraway from the jail colony the place he was being held within the Vladimir area, east of Moscow. His location was unknown.

Lawyers for one more outstanding opposition determine, Alexei Gorinov, 62, a neighborhood legislator in Moscow, stated that they had been denied entry to him since Dec. 8.

Both Navalny and Gorinov have been sick, in response to their attorneys, with Gorinov disadvantaged of treatment and so sick with bronchitis that he didn’t have the power to sit down on his chair or communicate when he was final seen this month.

Leaders of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, who stay in exile due to threats of arrest and prosecution, posted photos on social media Tuesday of supporters holding up indicators asking: “#Where is Navalny?”

His workforce posted that Navalny was “alone with the people who tried to kill him,” a reference to his 2020 poisoning with a banned chemical nerve agent, an assault that was carried out by the Russian authorities, in response to the State Department.

Navalny, 47, may very well be in transit to a different jail, however Russian authorities have confirmed nothing, elevating fears for his security, given the unusually very long time he has been out of contact. In Russia, transit between penitentiary services is seen by rights teams as a extremely weak second for political prisoners.

Russia will win warfare in Ukraine, Putin tells information convention and call-in present

As supporters fear about Navalny and Gorinov, Putin’s highly effective propaganda machine is working at full blast within the run-up to an election designed to spice up the legitimacy of his warfare on Ukraine. The Kremlin is finishing up public occasions that includes the Russian chief that appear designed to construct a cult of persona round him.

Last week, Russians tuned into Putin’s annual information convention and call-in present for residents, by which he exuded confidence and stated the targets in Ukraine have been unchanged.

On Tuesday, he addressed an expanded board of the Russian Ministry of Defense, attended by the militaristic chief of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and different non secular, political and navy officers, and boasted that the West’s makes an attempt to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia had failed.

Thanks to Russia, he stated, “the myth of the invulnerability of Western military equipment also collapsed.” Putin stated that Russia would by no means compromise its pursuits in any negotiations over Ukraine, and he proclaimed a have to additional ramp up navy manufacturing.

As Russia’s weapons factories churn out arms 24 hours a day, the nation’s safety equipment is equally industrious, jailing activists and attempting to intimidate main exiled cultural figures crucial of the warfare. These embody a beloved detective novelist, Grigory Chkhartishvili, who is legendary for a sequence of historic whodunnits written beneath the pen identify Boris Akunin.

One of Russia’s hottest novelists, he wrote a sequence of books a few fictional Russian detective in imperial instances, the good-looking, courageous and incorruptible Erast Petrovich Fandorin, whose solely flaw is a misfortune in playing.

Chkhartishvili, 67, who left Russia in 2014 after Putin illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and is predicated in London, is a powerful critic of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and continues to name for support for Ukraine.

“Terrorists declared me a terrorist,” he wrote Monday after Russian authorities designated him a terrorist. He added that Russia had “fallen under the power of criminals” and warned that even darker instances lie forward.

“A seemingly minor event, the banning of books, the declaration of some writer as a terrorist, is in fact an important milestone,” Chkhartishvili wrote. “Books have not been banned in Russia since Soviet times. Writers have not been accused of terrorism since the Great Terror.” He was referring to Stalin’s brutal Thirties purges by which tens of millions of individuals have been shot or despatched to the gulag jail camp system.

“This is not a bad dream, this is happening to Russia for real, for real,” he wrote.

Zelensky to face questions over faltered counteroffensive, different setbacks

Putin’s more and more harsh rule, nonetheless, has seen a renewed public embrace of Stalin, with quite a few monuments erected because the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, airbrushing away that dictator’s bloody historical past.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated Tuesday that Russian weapons factories had not developed, examined and produced weapons so rapidly at any time since World War II. Russia’s navy power will attain 1.5 million subsequent yr, virtually half of them contract troopers, Shoigu stated.

Putin claimed that Russia had tripled its manufacturing of armored automobiles, “but more are needed, modern tanks, modern armored vehicles.” He referred to as for elevated manufacturing of drones and high-precision missiles.

As Western arms manufacturing lags, analysts have warned that NATO dangers dropping its navy benefit.

“If we allow Russia to rearm without properly rearming ourselves, we are in deep trouble,” Janis Kluge, the deputy head of the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Division on the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, posted Tuesday on social media.