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Trial of Russian opposition figure Lyubov Sobol to re-adjourn

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Trial of Russian opposition figure Lyubov Sobol to re-adjourn

Russia
Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP

The trial of Russian opposition politician Lyubov Sobol will re-adjourn today in Moscow’s Perovsky District Court.

Sobol faces charges of trespassing outside the home of a Federal Security Service agent who is thought to have poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny last August. A Navalny ally and potential parliamentary candidate, Sobol—as well as nine other opposition leaders—is currently under house arrest on separate charges of violating COVID-19 restrictions by encouraging the anti-government protests that followed Navalny’s January arrest.

Sobol alleges the charges brought against her were manufactured to meet Moscow’s political aims. Notably, the cases against Sobol and other activists precede parliamentary elections scheduled for September in which criminally convicted politicians are disqualified from running.

Given Russia’s politically dependent judiciary, Sobol will likely be convicted of trespassing. She and other activists also likely face long-term house arrest for violating COVID-19 restrictions. Amidst new international sanctions and ongoing criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, expect Moscow to increase political repression ahead of the September elections. Mass arrests, such as those of over 200 municipal legislators earlier this week, are likely to continue. Expect rising repression to ultimately contribute to the re-election of a parliament favourable to Putin.

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