The extremism designation in opposition to Mr. Navalny’s group, which a Moscow court docket will think about in a secret trial beginning subsequent week, would successfully power Russia’s most potent opposition motion underground and will end in yearslong jail phrases for pro-Navalny activists.

Mr. Navalny, in the meantime, stays on starvation strike in a Russian jail hospital, insisting he be allowed to be seen by medical doctors of his selecting. A lawyer who visited him, Vadim Kobzev, reported Tuesday that Mr. Navalny’s arms had been punctured and bruised after three nurses tried and failed six instances to hook him as much as an intravenous drip.

“In case you noticed me now, you’d snort,” mentioned a letter from Mr. Navalny his staff posted to social media. “A skeleton strolling, swaying, in its cell.”

The White Home has warned the Russian authorities it “can be held accountable” if Mr. Navalny dies in jail. Western officers — and Mr. Navalny’s supporters and allies — reject the concept that the opposition chief is appearing on one other nation’s behalf.

However within the Kremlin’s logic, Mr. Navalny is a menace to Russian statehood, doing the West’s bidding by undermining Mr. Putin. It’s Mr. Putin, Mr. Trenin mentioned, who’s maintaining Russia steady by sustaining a stability between competing factions in Russia’s ruling elite.

“If Putin leaves, a battle between completely different teams breaks out, and Russia withdraws into itself, has no time for the remainder of the world and not will get in anybody’s means,” Mr. Trenin mentioned. “The West is, in fact, utilizing Navalny, and can use him to create issues for Putin and, in the long run, assist Putin turn out to be historical past in a method or one other.”

How far Mr. Putin goes in putting again in opposition to the West’s actual or imagined hostility remains to be an open query. Within the state information media, the temper music is dire. On the flagship weekly information present on the Rossiya 1 channel Sunday, the host Dmitri Kiselyov closed a segment on Mr. Putin’s showdown with Mr. Biden by reminding viewers of Poseidon — a brand new weapon in Russia’s nuclear arsenal that Mr. Putin revealed three years ago.