In response to today’s sentencing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny to nine years in a “strict regime penal colony,” Freedom House issued the following statement:

The sentencing of Alexey Navalny is the latest act of despotism by the Kremlin, which will stop at nothing to crush dissent and hold onto power,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “In the face of near-universal opposition to his war of conquest in Ukraine, the economic consequences of sanctions for his illegal actions, and the freezing of his oligarch cronies’ assets, Putin is desperate to silence any criticism of his corrupt regime, particularly from as influential a figure as Navalny. We call on the Russian authorities to immediately release Navalny and other political prisoners, and we call on the international community to take immediate, concrete action toward holding Putin accountable not only for his war crimes in Ukraine, but for the brutal repression of dissent in Russia.


On March 22, a Russian court sentenced the imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny to nine years in a high-security prison on charges of fraud and ordered him to pay a fine of about $11,500.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he received treatment after a poisoning attack. In February 2021, a Moscow court ruled that Navalny had violated the terms of his probation and sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2022, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2021, and is categorized as a Consolidated Authoritarian Regime in Nations in Transit 2021.