They like to get you there and smile in your face
Well, they think they’re so cute when they got you in that condition
Well I think it’s a total disgrace..
Well, I fight authority, authority always wins…
John Mellencamp – The Authority Song
It’s been an easy couple of weeks for me here at the Kremlin Stooge; Jen’s excellent post on potential fixes for Russia’s migrant problems drew 3,297 views so far, and 688 comments. Now Yalensis has stepped up to close the book on the KirovLes embezzlement case, a matter he has followed like a bloodhound since it first began to look like it would turn into something. This scrutiny was not helped by the fact that the case started up a couple of times and was shelved, only to be brought up again. Throughout the proceedings, Navalny’s hamsters chattered that Alexey was being accused of stealing a forest, can you imagine, how ridiculous! The trouble with following a blueprint like the Gene Sharp “Overthrowing the Gubmint for Dummies” is that the rubes are not supposed to know you are following a blueprint, so consequently this tactic has become less effective with overuse; people said, “Oh, this must be Chapter Four; How to Use Humor to Make Your Enemies Seem Ridiculous and Desperate”, and did not react as expected. During the actual hearing, we were treated to the real-estate lawyer cum timber company executive cum opposition leader’s live plug for taking the law seriously, as he spent time in court during his own hearing posting cat pictures to his blog. The rule of law for thee, but not for me. Then he was sentenced to jail time and packed off unceremoniously, then miraculously freed following the prosecution’s intervention on his behalf after the defense proved as ineffectual as a chocolate teapot. He ran for mayor of Moscow and lost, although his share of the vote was an eye-opener for sure; this was explained as the fallout of Sobyanin’s essentially sleepwalking through his non-campaign and the consequent overconfident non-turnout while Navalny’s voters turned out nearly to a man, and while I’m not sure it is really a harbinger of how badly Russia needs “western-style campaigning”, there is certainly a lesson of some kind in there somewhere.
After hopping from one news item to another like a Mexican jumping bean, Navalny reported back to court to hear the results of his appeal of the sentence awarded in the KirovLes case. He was given a suspended sentence, and the hamsters squeaked excitedly that this was a clear signal Alexey had done nothing wrong, and the whole thing was political. Was he actually vindicated? Read on, and see. Yalensis?
KIROVLES, THE SEQUEL: The Final Final Word
“Он любил и страдал. Он любил деньги и страдал от их недостатка.”
He loved and he suffered. He loved money and he suffered from the lack of it.
(Ilya Ilf, “The Twelve Chairs”)
Last week Kirov regional appeals court, located on Spasskaya Street in the city of Kirov, Russia, published its official ruling on Case #22-3133.
Case #22-3133 was heard in court on 16-OCTOBER-2013 by a 3-judge panel headed by Presiding Judge Albert Alexandrovich Prytkov. The 3-hour hearing was transmitted live over the internet, and received a good deal of attention in the press.
Case #22-3133 appeals the guilty verdict pronounced (on 18-JULY-2013) by lower-court Judge Sergei Blinov against defendants Alexei Navalny and Petr Ofitserov in the famous “KirovLes” case. The defendants were convicted of embezzling 16 million rubles worth of lumber from the State-owned timber conglomerate known as KirovLes.
STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE:
Recall that Judge Blinov had sentenced Navalny and Ofitserov to 5 and 4 years, respectively, of real time in a labor colony. Blinov is bright but relatively inexperienced, this was his first high-profile case. Possessing the clean-shaven, slightly chubby face of a Botticelli Cherub with a thick thatch of light brown hair (with a cute little cowlick on top), but also the heart of a Tiger and a highly refined bullshit-o-meter detection system; this rural judge was no pushover, he did not fall under Navalny’s charismatic and quasi-hypnotic spell. Nor did he flinch at the big city man’s threat to “lustrate” him, once he (Navalny) came to power in the Kremlin. (Death threats always sound better in Latin, for example: “defenestration” means “to toss somebody out of a window”; “lustration” means “to hang somebody from a lamppost”.)
Unmoved by Navalny’s oily charm; undeterred by Navalny’s blood-curdling threats; ordering his bailiffs to handcuff the defendants, lead them away, and toss them in the hole — Judge Blinov mumbled out his harsh sentence in his growly, regional V’atka dialect. Then, like a youthful Cardinal Richelieu, Blinov flounced out of his own courtroom, barely sparing a second look for the shocked defense attorneys and the sobbing wives.
And yet, the wheel of fortune had not yet stopped spinning for the unlucky prisoners. After a whirlwind tale (worthy of Alexandre Dumas) of sudden confinement, equally sudden release, escape to Moscow, and a frantic Mayoral campaign, three months later it was back to business in Kirov appeals court. But this time with a new cast of characters.
Now follows a summary and partial translation of the 3-judge appellate ruling. The ruling reads as a devastating rebuke to the defendants and their incompetent attorneys.
The written record is 17 pages long when printed out for the visually impaired. It contains many tags labelled (“details deleted”) where the document deletes details of a person’s demography (Name, Date of Birth, Street Address), which are contained in the court record but would be inappropriate for publication to a wider audience.
Like a published play, the document begins with a list of the dramatis personae, the Judges, Defendants and the small army of attorneys for the defendants. Youthful Prosecutor Cheremesinov is not mentioned yet, but he was there too, and he pops up later, making a cameo appearance, along with a fresh new face, Prosecutor L.G. Petelina. Both prosecutors press the judges to leave Blinov’s verdict in place, as is, complete with the draconian punishment.
Former Trotskyist revolutionary Eduard Limonov was also present at the hearing, now in the role of journalist/commentator/observer, and he posted his ironic impressions here.
Of note is the fact that the court document does not refer to witnesses by their own names, but by a code name, in order to conceal their identities. Aficionados who have followed the case closely can easily decode, for example Opalev = ФИО9, Governor Belykh = ФИО52, etc. It’s pretty easy to decode, when they write something like, for example: “ФИО9 was at the time the General Director of the State Enterprise KirovLes…”
No burying of the lede, the court document begins right away summarizing the results of the 3-week trial brought in the lower court: Alexei Navalny had been sentenced to 5 years in a correctional colony and a fine of 500K rubles.
Petr Ofitserov had been sentenced to 4 years in a correctional colony and also a 500K ruble fine.
On appeal, the 3-judge panel right there and then commuted both men’s sentences to probationary time (5 and 4 years respectively), with the clock starting to tick down from the date of 18-JULY-2013. Both men are under conditions of probation for the duration, i.e., they can’t leave their places of residence, and they have to report to a probation officer.
The appeals court upheld the lien that had been placed on Ofitserov’s property, and also forbid Navalny from engaging in “registration activities” with his own property. [yalensis: not sure what that means]
The appeals court ruled that if Ofitserov lacked sufficient money to pay his fine [yalensis: Ofitserov is broke], then the court would seek to put additional liens on his property until he had paid the fine in full.
Having heard the report of the judge A.A. Prytkov; the opinions of the defendants A.A. Navalny and P.Yu. Ofitserov; and of their attorneys O.O. Mikhailova, V.D. Kobzev, S.V. Kobelev and S.V. Davydova who are supporting the appeal; and the prosecutors L.G. Petelina and E.N. Cheremisinov, who request that the verdict be left as is; the court has ruled that:
A.A. Navalny is guilty of organizing and leading [an enterprise to commit] embezzlement, that is, the theft, on a particularly large scale, of somebody else’s property entrusted to him; and P.Yu. Ofitserov [is guilty] of assisting this embezzlement, with the same qualifier [“particularly large scale”], by providing information and means in the carrying out of the embezzlement.
The verdict goes on to lay out how Navalny abused his position of power as Advisor to Governor “ФИО52”, how he came up with the lumber-embezzlement scheme in 2009 and brought his old associate, Ofitserov, into the scheme. ‘Tis an all-too familiar story: how the two men set up a shell company (VLK) to skim sales off KirovLes; how they sought to imbue this shell company with the semblance of a “civil-legal-business” relationship with the KirovLes state entity; how Navalny used his official position to coerce the management of KirovLes, how he forced KirovLes General Director “ФИО9“ to do his bidding, and how “ФИО9” in turn coerced the downstream lumber-cutting filials, etc. etc. The sum of all the (illegal) VLK contracts came to the amount of 16,165,826.65 rubles, and such an amount places the embezzlement over the legal boundary between “petty embezzlement” and “embezzlement on a particularly grand scale”.
THE DEFENSE ARGUMENTS:
“Остап со вчерашнего дня еще ничего не ел. Поэтому красноречие его было необыкновенно.”
Since yesterday Ostap had had nothing to eat. Therefore, his eloquence was extraordinary.
(llya Ilf, “The Twelve Chairs”)
The court document next summarizes the arguments made by the Defense on appeal, namely:
* The absence of a crime. Navalny and Ofitserov did not steal anything! What occurred was a normal business deal, regulated by commercial law, between KirovLes and VLK. The deal was based on a legal contract. Proof of this is the contract itself, and also the decisions of the (Kirov) Arbitrage Court, which arbitrated various details of the contract.
* No financial harm was done to KirovLes as a result of the actions of the defendants. The court was mistaken when it ruled that a more valuable product was replaced with a less valuable product. No such replacement took place. KirovLes sold lumber to VLK, for which it received monetary compensation. This fact refutes the lower court’s ruling that the transfer of product took place without compensation. The court ruled incorrectly on the value of the product sold through VLK.
* Russia is a capitalist country. Russian law guarantees free enterprise. Prices are not regulated by the government. As a privately owned company, VLK can set whatever prices it chose. The lower court did not correctly establish the actual market prices of lumber in 2009 in this particular region of the country. The Defense tried in vain to present an expert witness on the lumber industry, who would have testified that more than 70% of VLK’s purchases from KirovLes were significantly ABOVE the average market prices prevailing at that time. But the lower court did not even want to listen to this expert. Rather it only wanted to listen to experts brought by the prosecution.
* The lower court could not prove that the defendants had any self-serving motives in what they did. Neither Navalny nor General Director “ФИО9” received any money from this so-called “scheme”. And all Ofitserov got out of it was a monthly salary. Prosecution could not prove that VLK spent any money unconnected with its primary activity as a business. In fact, VLK lost money.
* The lower court was not impartial. It did not give Navalny’s attorney Kobelev enough time to acquaint himself with the case. The prosecution committed technical errors. Two different sums were given for the amount of monetary harm committed. Another technical rule was violated when Witness “ФИО9“ was not advised of his obligation to give testimony on the stand. This was done deliberately so that “ФИО9“ could refuse to answer certain questions [on the grounds that they could incriminate him].
* The lower court overruled the Defense motion regarding audio files of the telephone conversations between Navalny and Ofitserov, which the Defense considers to have been illegally obtained.
* The lower court refused the Defense motion to subpoena KirovLes bookkeeping records pertaining to the period from April 2009 through February 2013. Also documentation was refused pertaining to lumber prices, and also to the eventual bankruptcy of KirovLes.
* The lower court refused to re-examine the prior guilty verdict against “ФИО9”, even though that verdict was prejudicial to the Defense and foretold the guilty verdict against Navalny/Ofitserov.
* The contract between KirovLes and VLK was not a fiction, KirovLes customers did not suffer any harm from the deal. The lower court did not prove that any prices were artificially lowered [in the payments made by the shell company to KirovLes].
* The guilty verdict was mostly based on emails between Navalny and Ofitserov, but those emails only prove that Ofitserov wanted to do business with KirovLes. The wiretapped phone conversations are from a period of time AFTER the supposed criminal plan was hatched. (Hence there are no telephone conversations regarding the actual hatching.) [yalensis: that’s because investigators only started wiretapping the duo after complaints from the locals that something foul was afoot.]
* The lower court incorrectly interpreted the ruling of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation concerning the definition of embezzlement.
* Navalny had nothing to do with anything even remotely criminal. He didn’t even know about the lowering of prices for KirovLes product until he read the auditor’s report.
THE COURT’S FINDING OF FACTS:
The 3-Judge panel of Appeals Court determined that neither Navalny nor Ofitserov had admitted his guilt.
Here is Ofitserov’s story: Ofitserov claimed that he had signed the contract with “ФИО9” all on his own, without any help from Navalny. He denies that he promised KirovLes they could market all their product through him. He did seek out new customers for KirovLes, though. KirovLes had sneakily tried to raise prices, but returned to average market price after he (Ofitserov) objected. Ofitserov says that “ФИО9” talked him (Ofitserov) into hiring his (ФИО9’s) stepdaughter, “ФИО16”. “ФИО16” then sneakily, and without his knowledge attempted to sign contracts with direct customers of KirovLes. The customers paid the same amount as they used to when they purchased directly with KirovLes, but now VLK was skimming off a commission, thanks to the machinations of ФИО16. Hence, KirovLes had to make up the difference through a lowered price.
Absorbing all of this, plus also listening to what Limonov refers to as “Navalny’s aria”, the Appeals Court came to the conclusion that the guilt of both defendants was as clear as sunlight.
Court also was convinced that Navalny abused his position of power, representing himself to ФИО9 as a confidante and friend of Governor ФИО52. [yalensis: Watch out – that guy ФИО52 is also a rogue!] Navalny/Ofitserov were relentless in their demands and, in the case of Ofitserov, threats against ФИО9. As a result of all this psychological pressure, poor old ФИО9 was forced to sign a contract that was not in the interests of the company that he himself headed, KirovLes. The shell company moved in as an intermediary with no real accountability, but having supposed legal power to lay down fines against KirovLes, should the latter fail to deliver the plywood on time.
Power without accountability – a perfect combination!
The “leskhozy” filials suffered too from this arrangement, because they had to take on the burden of previously unknown expenses, such as freight fees.
Witness “ФИО17”, one of the leskhozy directors, had testified how Navalny had tried to usurp authority and boss him around after ФИО9 was fired from his job.
Then came the auditor’s report, which put an end to this whole circus.
[Court document goes on to summarize the testimony of other prosecution witnesses, all with similar stories.]
Then proceeds to summarize testimony of Governor ФИО52. Gov say he told his assistant Navalny to analyze the financial situation of KirovLes. Navalny reported back on the enterprise’s debts and problems marketing its product. Conclusion: the state enterprise must be reorganized! He (ФИО52) avers on the stand that he never gave Navalny any order to create a special marketing intermediary. After the auditor’s report, he (ФИО52) became aware of ФИО9’s conflict of interest (involving his stepdaughter “ФИО16”), and fired him (ФИО9).
[Document goes on to summarize testimony of other Gubernatorial “Advisors”, including “ФИО56”, who is obviously Maria Gaidar, who was actually a witness for the Defense.]
[Document goes on to summarize testimony of various other witnesses.]
[Then goes on to list the various documents which were subpoenaed and placed in evidence, such as the contracts, bank accounts, tax records, etc.]
Of note in the documentary exhibits is one of the smoking guns: Navalny’s letter (regular letter, not email) to the President of a wood-pulp-manufacturing company [name deleted, but pretty clear they are talking about Solikamsbumprom in Perm]. Navalny invited this guy to partake of the great deals offered by VLK operating as a dealer [using English word “dealer”] of KirovLes. Along with handwriting expert verification that, yep, this was Navalny’s signature. Thus refuting Navalny’s contention that he had nothing whatsoever to do with VLK.
Next come the list of search warrants, fruit of which were Navalny’s cellphone and his Notebook computer. Fruit of which were the email correspondence between Navalny and Ofitserov. [yalensis: although, as we all know, those emails were already out there on the Internet, thanks to Hell’s hackery; but Hell’s versions could not be used in a court of law, so these cyber-treasures had to be re-obtained and legalized somehow through a search warrant.]
Next come the cellphone records and the wiretapped phone conversations. Court took into account the expert testimonies of an audio specialist, who testified that the audio files were not forgeries; and of a linguist/paralinguist who established the voice patterns and emotions of the speakers.
According to the judges, these tapped conversations prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the guilt of Navalny and Ofitserov. It is crystal clear that Navalny did organize and lead the scheme to embezzle from KirovLes; and that Ofitserov assisted him in this scheme.
DEBUNKING THE DEFENSE ARGUMENTS:
“- А теперь действовать, действовать и действовать! – сказал Остап, понизив голос до степени полной нелегальности.”
“And now we must act, we must act, we must act!” said Ostap, lowering his voice to the level of complete illegality.
(llya Ilf, “The Twelve Chairs”)
Next comes the debunking of each individual point of the Defense’s arguments:
* Defense claim that no crime was committed and that the deal between KirovLes and VLK was a normal, commercial contract, is rejected. The lower court correctly came to the conclusion, based on the Plenum ruling, that Navalny and Ofitserov had committed a crime and were possessed of a motive. The motive of the defendants along with “ФИО9” was to steal property that did not belong to them. Appeals court also rejects the implication that the lower court was biased against the defendants from the get-go. [yalensis: Although I am fairly sure that Blinov had come to develop a strong bias against them during the 3 weeks he was forced to listen to their bullshit.]
* Defense’s allusion to the rulings of the Arbitrage Court are also rejected. Defense argued that since certain points of the “contract” between KirovLes and VLK were arbitrated, that proves that the contract was valid and legally binding. However, Arbitrage Court is concerned with torts, not with crimes. In this case, the Arbitrage court is irrelevant, since a criminal conspiracy does not come within its sphere of jurisdiction.
* The Defense claim that Russian law guarantees economic freedom and the free setting of prices by private enterprise is also a crock. Capitalist free enterprise and market pricing is not the same thing as criminal embezzlement.
* The mainstay of the prosecution case is the ruling of the Plenum of the Supreme Court to the effect that the theft of property combined with simultaneous replacement of said stolen property with something less valuable, counts as theft for the entire amount, valued at whatever price it was worth at the moment of the theft, and not just for the difference in value between the property taken and the value of the replacement property. Given this ruling, the Defense never had a leg to stand on. [yalensis: This is a tricky point, which took me a long time to grasp. A simple example: under this Russian law, if I embezzle 100 rubles worth of product from you, while simultaneously transferring 50 rubles into your bank account, then I am still charged with the entire 100 rubles, not with the 50. Counter-intuitive, to be sure, but there you have it…]
* The lower court (=Blinov) had also ruled, interpreting the above Plenum ruling, that an act of embezzlement is considered to have taken place from the first moment that the entrusted property is illegally detained. Since this detention took place simultaneously with its replacement, it qualifies as interpreted above. In other words, VLK never had any legal right to lay its hands on the lumber; hence, the very first loading and shipping of lumber constituted the start of the embezzlement, even though cash was paid for it. The Defense had argued fruitlessly that the “deal” had not any signs of “gratuitousness” or lack of reciprocity, which is one of the prerequisites for determining that an economic crime had taken place. This argument was rejected by the lower court, and also now by the Appeals Court.
* Defense had argued that Navalny/Ofitserov had no ulterior motives of greed. Proof was the fact that neither one of them ever made a dime from any of this. Lower court correctly rejected this argument. The very FACT of their desire to take somebody else’s property and turn it in their favor or treat it like their own was proved beyond a doubt. So, they can’t claim that VLK’s failure to turn a profit proves their own lack of self interest. [yalensis: it only proves that they were incompetent criminals!]
* The lower court had also rightfully rejected Defense argument that there was no proof whatsoever that Navalny had ever gotten any money from VLK, and therefore he was innocent as a newborn lamb. The lower court correctly deduced the respective roles of the criminal trio: Navalny was the organizer and leader, Ofitserov was the helper, and “ФИО9” was the agent who directly carried out the criminal plan. Therefore, all three were guilty, regardless of whether or not they all benefited monetarily.
* Same deal goes for Ofitserov and his claim that he got nothing out of the deal except a monthly salary from his own shell company, VLK.
* Appeals court also approves of lower court refusal to sustain Defense motion to admit expert testimony regarding financial-economic and marketing expertise. Says defense experts were just making stuff up.
* Court also rejects Defense assertion that Navalny knew nothing about the artificial lowering of prices [paid by VLK to KirovLes] before he read the auditor’s report. This is refuted by the subpoenaed emails.
* Court correctly interpreted the tapped phone calls between Navalny and Ofitserov, in which the duo discussed the auditor report, how it would harm them, and what they should do to extract themselves from this situation. Defense claims that the phone calls were beyond the timeframe of the events in question, are not founded. Therefore, the lower court was completely correct in admitting these phone calls into evidence.
* (A couple of pages spent on debunking various Defense procedural motions. For example, Defense Attorney Kobelev had plenty of time to acquaint himself with the documents of the case, etc..)
* A paragraph is devoted to Defense claim about “ФИО9” supposedly not being advised of his duty to testify on the stand and to suffer criminal consequences if he refused to answer certain questions. [yalensis: Recall that Defense was upset when Opalev responded to certain questions with “I don’t recall…”] According to the appellate judges, “In his testimony, ФИО9 incriminated not only Navalny and Ofitserov, but even testified against himself, something that he had a right to NOT do, according to Articles 47 and 56 of the Codex of the Russian Federation…”
* Appellate judges also point out that, contrary to what the Defense is claiming, Russian law does not forbid using testimony that was solicited in the course of the preliminary investigation. Such [written] testimony can be introduced as evidence to jog memories when witnesses say they can’t remember what happened in the past, or if there is a clear contradiction between [what the witness is saying now on the stand, and what they told investigators earlier, and even signed their names to]. This applies to the testimonies of witnesses ФИО16, ФИО159, ФИО160, ФИО161, ФИО162, ФИО163, ФИО164, ФИО165, and ФИО166. None of this deprived the Defendants of any rights, since they were still able to cross-examine these witnesses on the stand and ask them any supplementary questions.
* Along this same vein, nobody deprived Navalny of his right to cross-examine witnesses ФИО9 and ФИО16 to his heart’s content. The court only stepped in when Navalny kept badgering them, asking them the same questions over and over, after they had already told him they “didn’t recall”.
* Next the appellate judges delve into the issue raised by the Defense, who insisted they be given access to ALL the audio files. Recall that certain tapped phone calls between Navalny and Ofitserov were heard in court and transcribed into the record. Defendants complained that there might be other phone calls on file stashed on investigators computers, in which Navalny/Ofitserov might be saying things that could vindicate them; and that prosecution only cherry-picked the incriminating conversations. [yalensis: Yeah, right, there could have been a tapped phone call in which Navalny says: “We could embezzle timber from KirovLes – but that would be wrong.” And then Ofitserov replies: “No, we would never do anything like that.” But investigators would cunningly suppress that particular conversation and make sure the judge never heard it!] To this point the appeal judges retort that, it was up to the Defense to prove that other audio files existed which pertained to the case at hand, and which could have been vindicatory for the Defense. They needed to point to specific files and/or specific conversations that existed, but were not brought into evidence. [yalensis: that does seem a bit unfair, though. The Judges are telling the Defense that they need to prove the existence of a negative. But it does make one think about the whole process of wiretapping and how potentially unfair it can be. How utterances could be taken out of context….]
* More rejections of various defense motions to include various documentation in the record. Appeal judges: No, the trial judge did NOT make an error when he refused to look at this assorted material. Nor did the trial judge misstep when he excluded exhibits pertaining to ФИО9’s other legal process and to the eventual bankruptcy of KirovLes.
* Appeals court rejects the Defense assertion that ФИО9’s conviction was prejudicial to the case of Defendants Navalny and Ofitserov. (And therefore should have been reassessed during their trial.) The names of Navalny and Ofitserov were not even mentioned in ФИО9’s case, and his conviction should not be seen as determinative or prejudicial to their case.
* Defense claims that Blinov never even took into account the fact that Navalny received no money from the deal. Appeals judges say, Yes, he did. He looked into this interesting fact, and he gave an appropriate weight to it.
* Appeal judges conclude that the trial court looked at all the evidence in its entirety and gave a correct analysis of the sum of the parts, in rendering its guilty verdict.
* In determining the punishment for Navalny and Ofitserov, the trial judge (=Blinov) took into account the character of the witnesses, their roles in the crime, their behavior during and after the commission of the trial, and whether or not he believed that punishment could rehabilitate them. He also took into account their families, their conditions of life, and their personalities.
* Taking into account the danger posed by the Defendants to society, also both aggravating and mitigating circumstances, the trial judge did not find it in him to lower their sentence to something less than Article 160 (=Grand Embezzlement). Neither do the appeal judges. At the same time, the appeal judges are more merciful; they do consider that the trial judge (=Blinov) made his one and only error, when he did not sufficiently take into account the personalities of the Defendants and their family obligations; the fact that they both have small, school-age children. This factor should have led to a softer sentence. There were no aggravating circumstances of the crime committed. (yalensis: Like, no violence or guns, or anything like that.) Both Navalny and Ofitserov are well thought of in their communities. In addition, Ofitserov submitted to Blinov a highly positive letter of reference from [information redacted, but those who followed the trial know that Ofitserov received a sterling review from the Apple Party; Apple raved that Ofitserov was a great guy and as honest as the day is long.]
* Taking all this into account, the appeal judges have decided that it is possible to rehabilitate Mr. Navalny and Mr. Ofitserov without sending them to a correctional colony.
“Как говорят инцидент исперчен.”
The incident is closed/peppered..
Appellate Judges say:
Aside from being a tad too harsh on the defendants, Judge Blinov did everything right.
Defense attorneys got everything wrong.