Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has called on people to be courageous a year after his arrest at a Moscow airport, which drew worldwide criticism.
Navalny says he does not regret returning to Russia from Germany. There was no point in living life in fear, he said in a post published on Instagram on Monday.
It is exactly one year since the 45-year-old returned to his homeland on 17 January 2021, after receiving treatment in Berlin as a result of an attack involving the chemical agent Novichok.
The fierce opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently detained in a prison camp in Pokrov, about 100 kilometres east of Moscow.
"They detained me even before passport control," Navalny said. It was completely unclear when the detention period would end, he added, referring to the threat of further trials.
Navalny explained that it was important for him to be honest with himself: "I don't regret it for a second and I'm moving on."
His spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, who was on the plane from Berlin to Moscow at the time, said that for her January 17 was a "day of victory."
"Putin thought that he would kill Navalny - and then at least prevent him from returning with criminal proceedings. But Alexei survived everything, returned home, alive, unharmed and even stronger than before."
Call for 'immediate release'
The German government's human rights commissioner, Luise Amtsberg, called on the Russian authorities to "immediately release" Navalny.
"His conviction was arbitrary and glaringly disproportionate," the Green lawmaker said.
The chair of the human rights committee in the German lower house, the Bundestag, Renata Alt, spoke of a political verdict aimed at "silencing an eloquent and popular critic of the Putin regime."
She called on Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to campaign for the release of Navalny and his imprisoned supporters during her visit to Moscow this Tuesday.