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Impact of New York Business Fraud Verdict on Trump’s Empire

Column: How the massive New York business fraud verdict will do real damage to Trump’s empire

Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny is among the numerous Kremlin critics who have faced repercussions from the government during President Vladimir Putin’s tenure.

Navalny, aged 47, was imprisoned in early 2021 upon his return from Germany, where he was recuperating from a near-fatal poisoning incident. Sentenced to 19 years in prison on “extremism” charges, widely condemned by rights organizations, Navalny was transferred to a remote prison colony in the Arctic Circle, where authorities reported his death on Friday.

However, Navalny’s fate is not unique among opposition figures or critics of the Kremlin.

Alexander Litvinenko, aged 43, died in London in 2006 after ingesting polonium-210, a radioactive isotope, through poisoned tea. A former Russian FSB spy and vocal Putin critic, Litvinenko had accused Putin of corruption and involvement in the Moscow apartment bombings that preceded the 1999 Chechen War. Despite allegations implicating Putin, the Russian leader denied involvement in Litvinenko’s murder.

Impact of New York Business Fraud Verdict on Trump's Empire

Impact of New York Business Fraud Verdict on Trump’s Empire (Credits: Bloomberg)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon, spent a decade in prison following confrontations with Putin early in his presidency. Released in 2013, Khodorkovsky has since resided in London, financing media projects critical of the Kremlin, similar to many of Navalny’s allies who fled Russia following the banning of his organizations as “extremist.”

The decision to send troops into Ukraine in February 2022 marked a turning point, triggering a severe crackdown on Russia’s opposition movement. Many who opposed Moscow’s actions fled the country, seeking refuge in Europe and Israel.

Boris Nemtsov, a former prime minister, was assassinated in 2015 near the Kremlin, aged 55. Nemtsov was vocal in his criticism of Putin’s annexation of Crimea and participated in opposition protests. Although five Chechen men were convicted of his murder, the mastermind behind the assassination remains unidentified, with Nemtsov’s allies pointing fingers at the Kremlin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin ally.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, an opposition politician, received a 25-year prison sentence in April 2023 for criticizing the Kremlin and its military operations in Ukraine. His conviction came amidst the Kremlin’s implementation of strict anti-defamation laws following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner mercenary group, found himself at odds with Putin after publicly criticizing the Russian military’s performance in Ukraine. Prigozhin died in a plane crash in August 2023 following escalating tensions with the defense ministry, culminating in what Putin labeled an “armed mutiny.”

Boris Akunin, a renowned author and vocal Putin critic, resides in self-imposed exile in Europe. Recently designated as a “terrorist and extremist” by Moscow for his stance on the Ukraine war, Akunin believes Navalny’s death will amplify opposition against Putin’s regime, potentially prompting a campaign of terror to suppress dissent.

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