Moscow and Navalny’s arrest
Currently, Western nations are pressing hard Russia to immediately free detained Kremlin political critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained at a Moscow airport after flying home for the first time since he was poisoned with “Novichok nerve agent”, last summer. Russia rejected calls of western countries to release him and told them to respect international law and do not encroach on national legislation of sovereign states. Russian Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova advised the West to address problems in their own countries.
According to Russian authorities, Navalny would be held in government custody until the court hearing scheduled on Jan. 29. The court will decide about his suspended sentence. Alexi Anatolievich Navalny is the prominent opposition leader and anti-Corruption activist. He had caused serious embarrassment to the ruling elite by his anti-corruption campaign in the country.
European Union members countries are calling for a bloc session to discuss the issue and impose sanctions against Russia. The potential EU sanction could hamper the $11.6 billion natural gas pipeline project to build from Russia to Germany. It can also include sanctions on top Russian officials and assets freeze by the European Union. However, there is lack of consensus on imposition of sanctions among the EU countries based on their financial interests in Russia. Germany wants to keep its gas pipeline project away from restrictions, similarly, several others EU countries look Russia as an attractive market. The United States seriously aims to curb the financial resources to reach in the Russian hands.
The return of Navalny is a two-edge weapon against Russia, which will hit Russia one or the other way. If Russia detained the Navalny, United States and EU will impose financial sanctions against it. If Russia releases Navalny, then a free Navalny can launch anti-Putin campaign in the Country. Navalny is a direct threat to Putin’s regime in the country. Navalny retuned to the Russia despite having life threat to him, has some well calculated strategy and plan behind it. Although, after decision by the Russian court, the political landscape of Russian is not likely to be remain same.