The group founded by Putin critic Alexei Navalny declared “extremists” and was banned by the Moscow court
A Moscow court declared extremist organization created by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday night, the latest move by the authorities to suppress dissent and ban Kremlin critics from running for parliament in September.
The Moscow City Court’s ruling took effect immediately, preventing people associated with the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation and its network of regional offices throughout Russia from seeking public office. Many of Navalny’s allies had hoped to run for parliamentary seats in the September 19 elections.
The extremist label also punishes long-term imprisonment for activists who have worked with these organizations, anyone who donates to them, and even those who simply share materials from these organizations.
Poisoned after being arrested
Navalny is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most ardent political enemy. He was arrested after returning from Germany in January, where he spent five months recovering from the nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. Come here-Russian officials refused to accept this accusation.
In February, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the probation clause for the 2014 corruption offence, which he rejected due to political motives.
The judge rejected the defense’s appeal to allow Navalny to participate in the hearing through the prison video link, and rejected other motions made by the defense.
The case is only part of the government’s multi-pronged strategy to suppress the opposition before the election, which includes banning other organizations and arresting militants.
Attorney Yevgeny Smirnov (Yevgeny Smirnov) said at the hearing that the prosecutor’s motion was aimed at barring Navalny’s associates from running for public office.
“This case is related to the law prohibiting the election of all persons associated with the Anti-Corruption Foundation,” he said.
The court meeting was held behind closed doors on the grounds that confidential materials will be discussed.
Navalny’s colleagues vowed to continue working
Navalny’s foundation was established 10 years ago, ruthlessly targeting high-level government officials with colorful and widely watched videos, detailing allegations of corruption against them.???
One of its latest works, which received 117 million views on YouTube, claimed that a luxurious palace on the coast of the Black Sea was built for Putin through an elaborate corruption plan. The Kremlin denied any connection with Putin.
Navalny also relied on his offices across Russia to organize anti-Kremlin protests and implement his smart voting strategy – a support candidate most likely to defeat the Kremlin-dominant unified Russia in various elections. The project of the party candidate.
At the hearing, the prosecutor accused Navalny’s organization of holding a protest to overthrow the government.
When the case was heard in a Moscow court, Russian legislators accelerated a new law prohibiting members of organizations declared to be extremists from running for public office.
Last week, Putin signed the law-coupled with the court’s ruling, Navalny’s colleagues have announced their intention to run for parliament, which will dash their hopes.
Senior Navalny Assistant Ivan Zhdanov, who leads the foundation, vowed that the team will continue to publish the exposure of corrupt officials and apply smart voting strategies.
“Navarny’s team will not stop their activities, they should not be hopeful,” Zhdanov, who lives abroad, told independent Dozhd TV.
Putin strives to maintain power until 2036
The September vote is widely regarded as an important part of Putin’s efforts to consolidate his rule before the 2024 presidential election.
The 68-year-old leader has been in power for more than 20 years and pushed for constitutional reform last year, which may allow him to remain in power until 2036.
Before the vote, the government also targeted other opposition figures.
Last week, the authorities arrested Andrei Pivovarov, the head of another anti-Kremlin organization, which they called “unpopular”-the Kremlin used this name to ban more than 30 Organizations.
A few days before his arrest, Pivovarov announced the dissolution of his “Open Russia” campaign to protect members from prosecution, but this did not prevent the authorities from pulling him from the plane to Warsaw at St. Petersburg airport last week. Come down. A court in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia ordered him to be detained for two months, pending investigation.
According to a 2015 law, joining an “unpopular” organization is a criminal offense, and another bill in the Russian Parliament is now being passed to increase its punishment, imprisoning its members for up to 6 years.
Open Russia is funded by Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who moved to London after serving 10 years in Russia and was charged with being widely regarded as political revenge for challenging Putin’s rule.
Khodorkovsky described the continued suppression of dissidents as the authorities’ concern about the decline in popularity of the Kremlin-led main party, the United Russia Party.
Another opposition activist, former Russian parliamentarian Dmitry Gudkov, was detained for two days last week. He and his supporters claimed that the allegations were fabricated. He was a former Russian parliamentarian. , He is eager to run for parliament again.
He went abroad after his release, saying that he had been warned that if he did not leave the country, he would be imprisoned.