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Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is facing a further 15 years in jail

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By Louise Miner  & Galina Polonskaya
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Alexei Navalny speaks from prison via videolink in January this year
Alexei Navalny speaks from prison via videolink in January this year   -   Copyright  Denis Kaminev/AP

The firebrand Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is facing fresh charges and potentially another 15 years behind bars in Russia, even as the country is embroiled in a destructive and resource-consuming war in Ukraine.

Navalny, the most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, was jailed for nine years last March after being found guilty of embezzlement in a case widely derided by human rights and legal experts as a sham. 

His political party, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, and affiliated media were outlawed and disbanded. The sentence sparked thousands-strong pro-democracy protests in cities across Russia. 

Now being held in a maximum-security penal colony, Navalny has since gone on hunger strike and continued to speak out against his both his own incarceration and the wider political state of affairs in Russia. 

This time, he wrote on Instagram this week, he is accused of "creating an extremist group, inciting hatred towards Russian officials and oligarchs, and inciting illegal protests" from prison. 

"Maybe Putin doesn’t hate me, but secretly adores me," he wrote. "That’s why he wants me to be hidden just like himself in an underground bunker under the protection of reliable people".