Navalny Protest Held in Tallinn
Around 100 people gathered in front of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn on Saturday to protest last week's arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The demonstration was organized by Eerik-Niiles Kross, a mayoral candidate for Tallinn in the upcoming elections, who is himself wanted by Russian authorities for his involvement in the Arctic Sea hijacking affair.
Although Kross said the demonstration - which was attended mainly by members of the European People's Party's youth group - was supposed to support democracy in Russia, protesters were carrying more IRL signs than ones related to Navalny, reported ETV.
One protester, Alisa Ruban from Ukraine, said: "I as a representative of Ukraine, probably know better than anyone present what political repressions mean and how they impact a country's development.“
Some demonstrators were not connected to IRL or the European People's Party.
"We are here just for one day. We came for vacation and wanted to visit the zoo. Yesterday we read the news on a bus that a demonstration would be held and our conscience did not allow us to be absent. So we decided not to see the monkeys and instead came here,“ said Leonid Toropov of St. Petersburg.
The US and the European Union have both condemned the Navalny ruling, which they say could be politically motivated.
But Karmo Tüür, a political scientist and Russian affairs expert, said he does not believe the episode will have a tangible impact on Russia's relations with the West.
"Since we are not dealing with anything out of the ordinary, but rather a standard practice in Russian trials, it would be premature to expect that business as usual will prompt an extraordinary reaction. I think that the leaders of the West will express their indignation, as they have previously done - whether it be Khodorkovsky, Magnitsky or Pussy Riot – but they will not go any farther than that,“ said Tüür.
Navalny, who is a mayor candidate in the upcoming Moscow elections, was released on bail while he appeals his conviction on embezzlement charges.