Russian state prosecutors on Tuesday asked a court to fine Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny 950,000 roubles ($12,962) for slandering a World War Two veteran, a charge he calls politically motivated.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic, was jailed this month for almost three years for parole violations he said were trumped up. The West has condemned the case and is discussing possible sanctions on Russia.
In the slander case, Navalny stands accused of defaming the veteran who took part in a promotional video backing constitutional reforms last year that let Putin run for two more terms in the Kremlin after 2024 if he wants.
Navalny described the people in the video as traitors and corrupt lackeys.
Veterans of what Moscow calls the Great Patriotic War are revered by most Russians and criticism of them is regarded as socially unacceptable and insulting.
Navalny accuses authorities of using the slander charges to smear his reputation.
It had been unclear before Tuesday whether state prosecutors would seek a custodial sentence in the slander case on top of a fine.
Navalny’s arrest and jailing sparked nationwide street protests in Russia, but his allies say they have paused serious demonstrations until the spring.