“On February 2, during a hearing that will determine if he remains in prison for several years to come, opposition figure Alexey Navalny addressed the court, delivering a short speech in which he maintained his innocence and condemned Russia’s political and legal system for corruption and repression. Meduza publishes an English-language translation of Navalny’s courtroom remarks.”
Their translation of Alexey Navalny’s speech in court today:
I would like to begin by discussing the legal issue here, which seems to me to be paramount and a bit overlooked in this discussion. There are two people sitting right there and one of them is saying: let’s lock up Navalny because he showed up [to meet with his parole officers] on Mondays, not Thursdays. And the other says: let’s lock up Navalny because he didn’t show up immediately after coming out of his coma. But I would like everyone to remember that the essence of this trial is to lock me up over a case in which I was already exonerated — a case that’s already been recognized as fabricated.
If we look at the criminal statutes — your Honor, I hope you’ve already done this once or twice — we’ll see that the European Court of Human Rights is part [of the Russian justice system] and its decisions are binding. The Russian Federation halfway acknowledged this ruling and even paid me compensation here. Despite this, my brother spent 3.5 years in prison because of this same case. I spent an entire year under house arrest for this same case.
The explanation is one man’s hatred and fear — one man hiding in a bunker. I mortally offended him by surviving. I survived thanks to good people, thanks to pilots and doctors. And then I committed an even more serious offense: I didn’t run and hide. Then something truly terrifying happened: I participated in the investigation of my own poisoning, and we proved, in fact, that Putin, using Russia’s Federal Security Service, was responsible for this attempted murder. And that’s driving this thieving little man in his bunker out of his mind. He’s simply going insane as a result.
There’s no popularity ratings. No massive support. There’s none of that. Because it turns out that dealing with a political opponent who has no access to television and no political party merely requires trying to kill him with a chemical weapon. So, of course, he’s losing his mind over this. Because everyone was convinced that he’s just a bureaucrat who was accidentally appointed to his position. He’s never participated in any debates or campaigned in an election. Murder is the only way he knows how to fight. He’ll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner. We all remember Alexander the Liberator [Alexander II] and Yaroslav the Wise [Yaroslav I]. Well, now we’ll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner.
I’m standing here, guarded by the police, and the National Guard is out there with half of Moscow cordoned off. All this because that small man in a bunker is losing his mind. He’s losing his mind because we proved and demonstrated that he isn’t buried in geopolitics; he’s busy holding meetings where he decides how to steal politicians’ underpants and smear them with chemical weapons to try to kill them.
The main thing in this whole trial isn’t what happens to me. Locking me up isn’t difficult. What matters most is why this is happening. This is happening to intimidate large numbers of people. They’re imprisoning one person to frighten millions.
Such a brave and principled man. I’ll leave it to smarter people than me to say more than that.
*zhena gogolia asked if we could front-page this