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In Russian court, Alexei Navalny uses the prisoner dock as a powerful stage for opposition

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An Instagram post attributed to him Wednesday about spaceships and the dangers of living in a prison cell.

Not expecting justice from a judiciary with an innocence of less than half a percent, Navalny is using his time in the dock in two current court trials to send home his message that Russia’s criminal justice system is a deception used to silence Putin critics.

He calls the appearances of cases tricked by the authorities to instill fear in the population or to slander it, but he has caught the stage they face for his purposes. He appeared in court here Saturday on the outcome of his appeal against a prison sentence for breach of probation. A second verdict in his criminal defamation trial was expected later Saturday. A third case, involving embezzlement charges and up to 10 years in prison, is pending.

At Saturday’s appeals hearing, Navalny learned about the meaning of life and the importance of religious belief by telling the truth and doing what was right, no matter how severe the consequences.

He said the authorities were using the trials against him showing me that they could do as they wished, like jungle.

Ordinary people who see this think: What if I get into the judiciary? Do I have a chance? The goal of power, he said, was to make people like him feel isolated, alone and scared.

Navlany said if he was not willing to take risks, he would simply be a bunch of molecules flying through space.

He was not enjoying prison but I do not feel sorry. On the contrary I feel pleasure. In a difficult moment, I have not betrayed the commandments. The court rejected his appeal.

Navalny says the defamation case, in which he is accused of defaming a World War II veteran, was created as a defamation. On Monday, a state media presenter, Vladimir Solovyov, compared Navalny unfavorably to Hitler, who he said had fought bravely as a soldier unlike this Fhrer code, a reference to a state security agent who comment that the insiders of opposition leaders were poisoned in an August attack.

The defamation allegation stemmed from Navalny’s tweet criticizing a group of people including actors, other celebrities, sports figures and a 94-year-old war veteran. Ignat Artemenko who appeared in a propaganda video on the RT network urging the Russians to support the constitutional changes that could keep Putin in power until 2036. Navalny called the participants traitors and infidels.

His lawyers argue that his tweet was not defamatory because the activist was expressing an opinion, not an assertion capable of being proven factual or otherwise.

When Judge Vera Akimova repeatedly raised questions that Navalny raised during the trial, he addressed her from his glass prison cage as Obersturmbannfhrer and likened the hearing to a Nazi interrogation, adding that she would look good with a German machine gun.

Authorities have limited Navalnys’ ability to use the hearing as a platform, with Akimova blocking video of the proceedings. However, state media broadcast his outcry against the judge during, while also reporting that his remarks could trigger even more accusations of insulting the court.

Navalnys hysterics continue, and meanwhile his team, led by sponsors from the United States, Canada and Europe, are preparing a military coup in the country, said state TV presenter Yevgeny Popov.

By Tuesday, the third day of the hearing, Navalny said the matter was so ridiculous that he could talk about cucumbers as well as the law.

Every moment of the matter is obvious legal folly, he said, stepping out to show how he had to repeatedly order salt in his cell, to finally gain three pounds right away.

I now have a lot of cucumbers and three pounds of salt. Since it makes no sense to talk about any legal issues here, perhaps, your Prosecutor and Honor, you know some good recipes for salted cucumbers, he said.

According to the independent website of media investigators Proyekt, the issue of defamation was raised by a widespread Kremlin-led campaign involving state security agents, state media propagandists, regional governors and ambitious independent professionals, all working hard to discredit Navalny. In August, Proyekt posted a WhatsApp message saying it was from the presidential administration to all regional policy groups in June launching an operation against Navalny based on his tweet at the helm of the June 25 to July 1 vote on constitutional changes.

Colleagues, we urgently need to organize an information campaign (responses, quotes, reprimands) defending World War II veteran insulted by A. Navalny. The campaign will run * until July 1 *, the message said, including the stars. He asked participants to promote news articles by quoting other veterans, patriots or just any high-profile or well-known individual and to submit articles and links to it.

At Saturday’s appeals hearing, Navalny said he dreamed of a future where Russia was not only free but also happy.

“Despite the fact that our country is built on injustice and we constantly face it and see its worst form, armed injustice, tens of millions of people want the truth and they will sooner or later get it,” he said.

Navalny is finding other ways to communicate. A post on his Instagram account on Wednesday, made on his behalf, said being in jail was not that hard but felt more like a space trip to a beautiful new world.

Can I, a fan of books and movies about space, refuse such a flight, even if it lasts three years? Definitely not, he wrote.

There is only one big difference from space movies. I have no weapons at all. What if the ship is attacked by xenomorphs? I doubt I can fight them with a cauldron.

Space travel is dangerous, Navalny added. The voyage may take years longer than expected, or it may lead nowhere.

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