Daniel Kholodny, the former technical director of the Navalny LIVE YouTube channel, was sentenced to 8 years in a general regime (minimum security) penal colony by the Moscow City Court earlier today, according to a statement by his lawyer. Kholodny had been in pre-trial detention since March 2022 on charges of his alleged involvement in “extremist activities” and their financing. Alexei Navalny, who was also tried in the same case, received a 19-year sentence in a “special regime” penal colony.
The trial took place behind closed doors, without any audience or media presence, resulting in limited information becoming public. The sentences were announced earlier today, with journalists allowed to view the proceedings through via video stream at Penal Colony No. 6 in the Vladimir region, where Navalny is already serving an 11.5-year sentence.
The Insider's correspondent present in the video streaming hall at Penal Colony No. 6 noted that the stream's poor audio quality prevented journalists from correctly hearing the wording of the verdict for both defendants, requiring subsequent clarification.
The case was launched over the alleged infringement of six articles of Russia's Criminal Code: incitement to extremism, creation of an NGO violating citizens' rights, financing extremism, forming an extremist community, involving minors in dangerous activities, and the rehabilitation of Nazism.
On July 20, state prosecutors requested that Navalny be sentenced to 20 years in a “special regime” penal colony, while Kholodny be sentenced to 10 years in a “general regime” penal colony.
“Special regime” penal colonies are Russian prisons with the highest level of security and the harshest inmate restrictions. According to Russian law, these penal colonies are designated for men with life sentences or “especially dangerous recidivists.”
Navalny shaking Kholodny's hand prior to the announcement of the verdicts for both men
Prior to the verdicts, Navalny praised Kholodny as an “inspiration” in a statement, noting that the 25-year-old had refused numerous offers of release in exchange for testifying against others.
“Kholodny is in a good mood, cheerful, and doesn't lose his spirit. Most importantly — he understands why this process was invented but doesn't let himself be intimidated and break his will. Be like him.” Navalny added in a message to supporters.
Alexei Navalny mentioned on Twitter that his defense witnesses included convicted politicians Ilya Yashin, Vladimir Kara-Murza, and Liliya Chanysheva, as well as Vadim Ostanin, the former coordinator of Navalny's Barnaul headquarters, who was recently sentenced to 9 years in prison for “extremism.” Former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov also testified for the defense.
Evidence from the case was published on Navalny's Telegram channel, including the lyrics of the song “Navalny Lekha” [“Lekha” is a diminutive form of the name “Alexei” in Russian — translator’s note] by rapper Morgenstern, who was declared a “foreign agent” in Russia. A confirmation of a cryptocurrency transfer from a wallet named “PutinHuj” [“PutinD*ck” — translator’s note] was also revealed.
The 47-year-old Navalny is already serving a nine-year sentence for fraud and contempt of court. He also was sentenced in 2021 to 2.5 years in prison for a parole violation. The verdict issued on August 4 means that Navalny’s term behind bars now stands at 30.5 years.