The second hearing on the Navalny case took place today. Let’s talk about the most important thing that happened there:
The meeting began an hour late, and some journalists were not allowed into the colony, citing a lack of space. A week ago, there were no such problems. Probably, the court realized that the last meeting was too “open”, and decided to rectify the situation.
Navalny’s lawyer Yevgeny Salomatov, who joined the defense at this meeting, asked for time to familiarize himself with the case file – and the judge generously gave him an hour. The case file contains 30 volumes. That means he had two minutes on that one. At the same time, documents were not allowed to be photographed for a long time, because equipment cannot be used in the colony. In fact, this means that Navalny is deprived of the right to defense: lawyers cannot do their job if they are forbidden to photograph materials, record meetings on a dictaphone, and generally use laptops where all documents for the court are stored.
Alexei’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova filed a petition in which she asked for permission to use the equipment, and for Navalny himself to change from a prison uniform into civilian clothes. The judge, of course, again refused.
After that, the interrogation of witnesses for the prosecution began. There were two of them. Almost a whole day was spent on the testimony of the first – Vitaly Serukanov.
He himself calls himself a “former FBK lawyer,” but he lies even in such trifles – he has never worked at FBK. However, this did not prevent him from telling with an important air about how the work in the Foundation was arranged. He was so eager to share his knowledge that he jumped to the podium and began to testify without waiting for questions. Probably, he was very afraid to forget the words.
Such agility is explained very simply – the current place of work of Serukanov. He works at the propaganda state channel Russia Today. Well, “work” is too strong a word. In fact, Serukanov’s job is not dusty, but shameful – he invents “revelations” about Navalny, publishes them on his Telegram channel and receives money from the budget for this.
In court, Serukanov refused to disclose his place of work and salary, saying that it was not relevant to the case. In fact, he has, and the most direct thing: he is officially paid 754,000 rubles a month for slander. We did investigation about it.
Thus, one of the main “experts” on the FBK from the side of the prosecution was a person who had never been employed in the fund, did not have a permanent job there, knew nothing about the work processes and was not familiar with any of the “victims”. But he sits on the salary of the Kremlin and is ready to lie under oath as he is ordered.
Almost the entire interrogation of Serukanov in court was reduced to reading his previous interrogations. From them, for example, it followed that Navalny specially organized unauthorized rallies in order to cash in on the detainees, but at the same time did not organize any rallies at all – they existed only on Twitter, and not in reality.
Serukanov was offended by all Navalny’s demands to clarify these contradictions and complained to the judge that Alexei was confusing him.
The prosecutor demanded to remove Navalny’s questions, and the judge obediently removed them. I think they would gladly cut the whole trial down to the reading of the verdict.
And now to the good news. In the beautiful Russia of the future, Vitaly Serukanov faces up to five years in prison for perjury. Because this is exactly what we have observed all day: realizing that he was telling a lie, Serukanov continued to lie under oath.
The second witness for the prosecution was Fyodor Gorozhanko. He is indeed a former FBK employee who, after being fired, stole and sold the base of supporters. Obviously, the Investigative Committee expected that, like Serukanov, he would immediately declare Aleksey’s guilt, but Gorozhanko ruined all their plans.
He said he wanted to testify for the defense and claimed that Navalny had never engaged in illegal activities. He also stated in detail under oath that the investigators put pressure on him during the testimony, threatened and demanded that he respond in the same words that formulated the charge.
Navalny: “The investigator asked you to formulate your testimony as in an interrogation. How it was?”
Gorozhanko: “I was summoned by a summons to the Investigative Committee. The investigator said that the case was beyond jurisdiction, it needed to be staged. He printed out an indictment for me. In case of unwillingness, he promised me some problems. I hope they don’t.”
The FBK files an application with the Investigative Committee on the fact that the investigator forced the witness Gorozhanko to give knowingly false testimony.
Gorozhanko himself called the trial absurd and stated that there were no facts of embezzlement in the FBK, and he does not consider the activities of the Fund to be extremist. He does not want to have anything to do with those who are trying to accuse Navalny.
Thus, the witnesses for the prosecution today are as follows: a corrupt propagandist who never worked for the FBK, and a man who said that Navalny was innocent. What can I say, today the Investigative Committee has done a great job.
The next meeting is February 22 at 10.00. The interrogation of witnesses for the prosecution will continue.