Grigory Yavlinsky, Chair of YABLOKO Federal Political Committee and a candidate for President of Russia, claims that the sentence given to Alexei Navalny is politically motivated and the absence of Navalny in the presidential election will reduce its representativeness.

“The sentence for Navalny and Ofitserov [his co-defendant] was quite predictable. Politically motivated sentences have followed him these past years,” Yavlinsky told Interfax.

According to the politician, the absence of Navalny in the presidential election “will not brighten it but reduce its representativeness”. Yavlinsky claims that presidential election in Russia turned into a plebiscite on the trust in the incumbent president.

“The absence of political competition and irremovable government have already led to an extremely ineffective economic and political situation in Russia. All this leads the country to periphery and backwardness,” Yavlinsky says.

The court found Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement. He was given a five-year suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay a fine of of 500,000 roubles. Navalny will appeal against the verdict.

YABLOKO made a decision to nominate Grigory Yavlinsky as candidate for President of Russia at the party Congress in February 2016. The party claims that Yavlinsky represents a real alternative to the incumbent President Vladimir Putin. Grigory Yavlinsky participated in the presidential race three times. In 1996 he finished forth, in 2000 he finished third. He was withdrawn from the presidential race of 2012 on political grounds.