MOSCOW: Supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny were set to stage fresh protests in Moscow and across Russia on Sunday for a second straight weekend despite a sweeping crackdown on his allies and the near-certainty of a confrontation with police.
The rallies are part of a campaign to win the release of President Vladimir Putin’s staunch opponent, who was arrested on Jan. 17 after returning from Germany. He had been recovering there from a nerve agent poisoning in Russia.
The 44-year-old opposition politician accuses Putin of ordering his murder, which the Kremlin denies.
Navalny is accused of parole violations which he says are trumped up. A court is due to meet next week to consider handing him a jail term of up to three and a half years.
The protests following Navalny’s dramatic return to Moscow despite the threat of arrest put Putin in a quandary over how to respond. Polls show pent-up frustrations among Russians over years of falling wages and fallout from the…