There can be little doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin is personally in charge of every important move against opposition figures such as Alexsei Navalny, who was found guilty of embezzlement but, surprisingly, released on bail. Mr Putin must therefore be convinced that the benefits of political trials outweigh the costs, which is an ominous sign for anyone who tries to oppose him.

<i>Russian opposition leader Alexsei Navalny was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on July 18, 2013 , only to be set free on bail. This unprecedented move has given rise to much speculation. He intends to stand in the election for Moscow Mayor on September 8, and convicted criminals are n...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
President Putin has been shaken by the protests against his regime but cannot change policy, for fear of showing weakness
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