Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny on Monday urged Western governments to sanction key allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin as Moscow ignored US and European calls to free him.
Navalny, 44, identified eight people as potential targets for punitive measures, including billionaire Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich and tycoon Alisher Usmanov, as well as top officials, in a list released by his close associate.
A Russian court on Monday ordered Navalny held in custody for 30 days. He had been detained the previous day upon arrival from Germany where he had been recovering from a poisoning attack.
He faces as much as three-and-a-half years in prison at a hearing set for Feb. 2 on charges he breached the terms of a suspended sentence.
Russia rejected calls from the US and European governments to release Navalny, dismissing the appeals as efforts to distract from domestic problems in Western nations.
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia called for the EU to consider new sanctions on Russia over the case at a meeting of foreign ministers next week, but it was not clear how much support there was in other capitals for the push.
In addition to the billionaires, Navalny’s list of top sanctions candidates includes VTB Bank chief executive Andrey Kostin, Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko and the prominent adult children of Putin allies.
“I call for Western governments to review this list and make it known that they will sanction people from it if Alexey is not immediately released,” Navalny ally, Vladimir Ashurkov, wrote on Facebook.
Navalny is being held in Moscow’s notorious Matrosskaya Tishina prison, which is harsher than the holding cells where he was usually kept in the past.
He is to spend 14 days in a three-person cell alone because of COVID-19 quarantine rules after his arrival from Germany, prison ombudsman Alexey Melnikov, who visited him in the jail, wrote on Facebook.
The facility is where Hermitage Capital Management tax adviser Sergei Magnitsky died in 2009 from an apparent beating, according to a Kremlin human rights council.
In a video appeal recorded in the courtroom on Monday, Navalny called on his supporters to protest.
“Don’t be scared. Come out on the streets — not for me, but for yourselves and your future,” he said.