Kremlin critic Navalny tells court that Putin will go down in history as nothing but an 'underpants poisoner'

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Ryan Pickrell
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Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny takes part in a rally in Moscow
Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny takes part in a rally in Moscow REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
  • Alexei Navalny, an outspoken Kremlin critic, delivered a defiant speech in court Tuesday calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • He said that history will remember Putin as nothing but an "underpants poisoner."

  • Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok family last August that was reportedly planted in his underwear.

  • He has said that the Russian government tried to kill him to silence him, a claim the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said in court Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be remembered as nothing but an "underpants poisoner," according to a transcript of his statement.

The prominent Russian opposition leader is in court and is facing several years in prison for violating the terms of his probation, conditions set as part of a suspended sentence for a money laundering conviction that Navalny argues was politically motivated.

Navalny was arrested in mid-January after returning from Germany, where he spent several months recovering after he was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok family last August.

Navalny has accused Putin of trying to kill him.

Though the Russian government, including Putin, has repeatedly denied any involvement, Navalny, working with various investigative organizations, has produced several reports pointing to a Russian government role in the attack.

A December report, produced with CNN and Bellingcat, featured the contents of a phone call with a purported Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agent, who was duped into revealing that the Novichok nerve agent was planted in Navalny's underwear.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny talks to one of his lawyers
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny talks to one of his lawyers Moscow City Court via AP

Speaking in court on Tuesday, Navalny said that the reason for his arrest "is one man's hatred and fear - one man hiding in a bunker." Navalny said that he "mortally offended" Putin by surviving, angered him further by refusing to run and hide, and then infuriated him by digging up evidence of his guilt.

"Murder is the only way he knows how to fight," he said, referring to the Russian president. "He'll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner. We all remember Alexander the Liberator [Alexander II] and Yaroslav the Wise [Yaroslav I]. Well, now we'll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner."

Navalny said in his defiant court speech that the entire show trial is "because that small man in a bunker is losing his mind."

"He's losing his mind because we proved and demonstrated that he isn't buried in geopolitics," he continued. "He's busy holding meetings where he decides how to steal politicians' underpants and smear them with chemical weapons to try to kill them."

He said that efforts to lock him away are intended to intimidate the Russian people, many of whom recently demonstrated a willingness to push back against the government over Navalny's arrest, as well as long-standing issues of lawlessness and corruption.

Demonstrators take part in an unauthorised protest in support of the detained opposition activist Alexei Navalny
Demonstrators take part in an unauthorized protest in support of the detained opposition activist Alexei Navalny Photo by Kirill Kukhmar\TASS via Getty Images

Russian authorities have arrested thousands of protesters critical of the government in recent weeks.

"I hope very much that people won't look at this trial as a signal that they should be more afraid," Navalny told the court. "This isn't a demonstration of strength - it's a show of weakness."

"I am fighting as best I can and I will continue to do so, despite the fact that I'm now under the control of people who love to smear everything with chemical weapons," Navalny said. "My life isn't worth two cents, but I will do everything I can so that the law prevails."

Read the original article on Business Insider