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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Video of Navalny\'s Return to Moscow

A screenshot from the Russian activist Aleksei Navalny's blog showed supporters greeting him at a train station in Moscow on Saturday. A screenshot from the Russian activist Aleksei Navalny's blog showed supporters greeting him at a train station in Moscow on Saturday.

Updated, Tuesday, 4:03 p.m. As he reported on his own blog over the weekend, the Russian opposition activist Aleksei A. Navalny was greeted by hundreds of supporters at a train station in Moscow on Saturday, one day after he was released from jail in the city of Kirov.

Speaking after a turbulent 48 hours - during which he was sentenced to five years in prison on what he insists are politically motivated charges, and then released pending an appeal after demonstrators decorated the Russian Parliament with stickers bearing his name during street protests - Mr. Navalny promised to spend the next seven weeks campaigning to be elected mayor of Moscow, even as he fights to have his prison sentence overturned.

Video of Aleksei Navalny's remarks to supporters in Moscow on Saturday, subtitled by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Reuters video of the scene at the train station, subtitled and posted online by the American-financed news network Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, showed the anti-corruption blogger telling his supporters, “We have a big and difficult electoral campaign in front of us, seven weeks of nonstop work, and this is only the beginning.”

Mr. Navalny also led the crowd in one of his signature chants, “We are the power!” which was heard outside the Duma during last week's protests. That part of his remarks was not included in a video edit posted online by the state news agency RIA Novosti.

Footage of Aleksei Navalny's return to Moscow from the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

More video of the scene, on the Russian news site Lenta.ru, showed that the police made a determined effort to keep Mr. Navalny's arrival from turning into a full-fledged rally, even making it difficult for well-wishers to hand him flowers.

The Radio Free Europe blogger Brian Whitmore noted that, in video recorded from the press scrum around Mr. Navalny, after he thanked his supporters for the protests following his conviction - saying: “You have destroyed the main privilege that the Kremlin has claimed, its alleged right to arrest anyone in court and cause that person to disappear. It's because of you that we were released the next day. Thank you! We are a huge, mighty force, and I am glad that we are realizing this and I am glad to be one with you” - a man in the crowd could be heard shouting, “We are citizens!”

Politvestnik.tv video of Aleksei Navalny's remarks on Saturday at Moscow's Yaroslavsky Station.

As Masha Lipman explained in a post for The New Yorker's news blog, the scene at Moscow's Yaroslavsky Station had “historical resonances,” even if it was not quite St. Petersburg in 1917.

On two occasions in recent decades, men who beat the system returned to Moscow by train. In December 1986, Andrey Sakharov, released by Mikhail Gorbachev, was met by a modest crowd as he arrived from his exile in the city of Gorky. On July 23, 1994, it was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's turn to get off the train after he'd been arrested and then expelled from his country.

To become mayor of the Russian capital, Mr. Navalny faces an uphill struggle. He will not only have to get his conviction overturned, but, as Julia Ioffe explained in The New Republic, defeat the relatively popular incumbent, Sergei Sobyanin, who served for years as President Vladimir V. Putin's chief of staff. Despite those long odds, his team of young campaign volunteers are pressing ahead with their effort to blanket the Russian capital with posters of their candidate.