In 2016, for example, Mr. Pavlov advised reporters a few consumer in southern Russia just lately sentenced to seven years in jail for treason. Her crime? She had messaged a good friend in close by Georgia remarking on a passing Russian navy convoy in 2008, months earlier than Russia went to warfare with the nation.
A journalist requested Mr. Putin in regards to the case at his annual information convention; confronted with a patently absurd conviction, Mr. Putin pardoned the lady, Oksana Sevastidi, a couple of months later. The lesson for Mr. Pavlov was that making the authorities look petty and incompetent was his simplest technique.
Earnest indignation, alternatively, might be counterproductive.
“This leviathan at all times desires to look very critical and brutal,” Mr. Pavlov mentioned. “The extra you condemn Russia for violating human rights or elementary norms and so forth, the extra Russia responds, ‘Yup, that’s us.’”
Mr. Pavlov heads a bunch of legal professionals and activists referred to as Group 29 that produces podcasts and YouTube movies about its instances, together with recommendation columns on questions like, “What number of instances are you able to go to a protest march with out going to jail?”
Mr. Pavlov and his Group 29 colleagues’ shoppers embody the niece of the Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg, who is seeking access to Ok.G.B. paperwork that might make clear his mysterious demise within the Soviet Union, and a number of other Russian scientists whose contacts with overseas colleagues are being investigated by Russian counterintelligence brokers.
Within the course of, Mr. Pavlov has emerged as one of the vital outstanding adversaries of Russia’s highly effective home intelligence company, the Federal Safety Service, or F.S.B. The company has led the latest crackdown on the opposition, analysts say, and tried to assassinate Mr. Navalny final yr. (The Kremlin denies that the authorities had any position in Mr. Navalny’s poisoning, or that there’s an organized marketing campaign towards the opposition.)