At his trial in July, the Kremlin critic joked with followers throughout the proceedings, until a judge finally convicted him on embezzlement charges. This time he appeared more grim.
Shortly before the ruling on his appeal, Navalny's spokeswoman tweeted this photo of him and his wife, Yulia, in the courtroom hallway.
Даже журналисты делают несколько нужных кадров и отходят. Не давят и не пытаются подойти ближе. pic.twitter.com/uJ0CPRKdmD— Anna Veduta (@Anna_Veduta) October 16, 2013
But then, as the judge read his verdict, came an onset of tweets with just one word: "suspended."
Условно!!!!!— Roman Dobrokhotov (@Dobrokhotov) October 16, 2013
Условно.— Leonid Volkov (@leonidvolkov) October 16, 2013
Условно, УРА— Ivan Kolpakov (@kolpakov) October 16, 2013
The Russian regional court upheld the opposition leader's conviction, but handed down a suspended sentence. Barring a successful appeal, Navalny will be prevented from seeking political office for at least five years, but will not go to prison.
Although opposition members expressed relief, there was renewed derision at the seeming arbitrariness of Russian justice.
A Buzzfeed reporter:
Seen this sentiment from Russian tweeters: in what kind of country does a suspended conviction for innocent people bring sighs of relief?— max seddon (@maxseddon) October 16, 2013
In July, a court imprisoned Navalny immediately after his sentencing, but he was freed at the request of the prosecutor 24 hours later, following a large protest in Moscow. The actions have been widely seen as politically motivated.
After Navalny's surprise showing in the mayoral election, the Kremlin appeared to be at an impasse over how to handle him. "The verdict means basically political isolation. Navalny can't travel freely at home or abroad," opposition activist Ilya Yashin tweeted. "And he can't take part in elections."
Приговор суда это по сути политическая изоляция. #Навальный не может свободно ездить по стране и миру. И в выборах участвовать не может.— Илья Яшин (@IlyaYashin) October 16, 2013
A lawyer for an anticorruption organization founded by Navalny played on a phrase from a well-known Soviet film. In "Prisoner of the Caucasus," the character Truce, on trial, nervously shouts, "Long live our Soviet court, the most humane court in the world!"
In Andrei Mishchenkov's adaptation, "humane" is replaced by "suspended," which also can mean "conditional." "Long live our court. The most conditional in the world," he tweeted.
Да здравствует наш суд. Самый условный суд в мире #судвкирове— Мищенков Андрей (@ipasserby) October 16, 2013
Of course, Navalny critics were upset about the court decision for other reasons. "I hope Navalny is cut into quarters," said Eduard Bagirov, a blogger and publisher with ties to the Kremlin, before the ruling.
Надеюсь, Навального четвертуют. Прямо в зале суда.— Эдуард Багиров (@EduardBagirov) October 16, 2013
"Damn, he wasn't cut into quarters," he tweeted after the verdict. "A big pity."
-- Glenn Kates