Russian social media, meme reacts to Navalny sentencing
A Russian court has sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 3.5 years in prison after ‘violating the terms of his probation’ – that is, after not registering with probation officers while in Berlin where he was being treated for poisoning with a substance similar to the Novichok nerve agent.
The term will be closer to 2 years and 8 months, given that he has already spent time under house arrest prior to the sentencing.
The entire center of Moscow was shut down today during the trial, but Russians took to social media to voice their displeasure over the verdict and trial in general.
Some Twitter users found humorous the deployment of police and OMON units on horseback near the courtroom, comparing them to medieval knights:
Others expressed dismay over security officers’ use of overt violence against those protesting the trial, with one user parodying the would-be caption of Russian news agency RIA Novosti on the video below:
“One man fell ill, and the police helped him get on the prisoner bus. And, well, they beat him, too, for good measure.”
One satirical meme proved particularly popular, commenting on what many say is the absurdity of charging Navalny with the violation of his parole given that he was in a coma for a number of days while being treated in Berlin.
The text below reads in Russian: “I see that you are in a coma. You have to send documents of confirmation [of the fact] to the Federal Penitentiary Service.”
Managing English editor from well-known Russian media outlet Medusa Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) selected a ‘photo of the day’ of this special forces officer near the court.
Other Twitter users took the opportunity to offer their own captions:
“When you gotta start your shift at the human Rights Violations Factory at 3, but you got there at 2:50.”
“You know every Proud Boy and intel is frenetically searching where to buy this outfit.”
“If only we could see he’s watching ‘Putin’s Palace’ on his phone….”
Meanwhile, Russia Today [incorrectly] announced the court’s final verdict in Navalny’s case before it was even announced by the judge, irking many netizens, with @merr1k commenting: “Well, what’s there to do…”
The original tweet announcing the verdict wrote that Navalny would received 2.5 years, and was later deleted from RT’s page:
Navalny himself addressed the court before the verdict was delivered with some sharp and humorous statements:
To his wife: “They were showing you on TV in my cell. They said you’ve been disturbing the public order [by showing up at protests]. Bad girl, I am proud of you.”
To his lawyer: “I see that you are on Twitter, tell me what they are saying, I miss the Internet.”
About Putin: “As much as he tries to portray himself as a great ruler, a great global leader, the grudge he holds against me is that he will go down in history as a poisoner. We had Alexander the Liberator, we had Yaroslav the Wise. And we will have Putin the Underwear Poisoner.