As the parliamentary elections in September approached, the authorities began banning access to websites related to opposition leaders.
Prior to the upcoming parliamentary poll, Russian authorities have blocked access to the website of the imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, as well as the websites of 48 other individuals and organizations associated with him .
Monday’s move came after a Russian court Approved last month The prosecutor requested the declaration of an organization associated with Navalny as “extremists”, effectively banning it and preventing his allies from participating in the September elections for the lower house of the State Duma.
The Russian Internet regulator Roskomnadzor stated in a statement to Reuters that at the request of the Attorney General, it has taken action to block navanny.com, the main website of the banned movement and other websites in Russia.
It said these sites help the campaigns covered by the court’s ban to promote and continue illegal activities.
Navalny’s team condemned the move and stated on social media that the authorities are expected to soon target its so-called smart voting site, which advises people on how to vote tactically in an attempt to remove candidates from the ruling United Russia Party. .
“(They) decided to completely wipe us out of the Internet,” Navalny’s colleague Maria Pevchikh wrote on Twitter.
Navalny’s ally Leonid Volkov (Leonid Volkov) said that he and others will soon explain what people should do to prevent the site from being blocked.
The Kremlin suppresses opponents
NavalnyThe 44-year-old is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent domestic critic.
He is currently serving two and a half years in prison for a violation of parole related to corruption in 2014, which he believes is fabricated.
He was arrested after returning to Russia from Germany in January, where it took him five months to recover from the nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.
His imprisonment has increased tensions between Russia and Western powers, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, which demanded his release.
Earlier this year, Navalny’s imprisonment also triggered a wave of large-scale protests in 11 time zones in Russia, which seemed to be a major challenge for the Kremlin.
The authorities responded by arresting demonstrators on a large scale and bringing criminal proceedings against Navalny’s closest associates.
In recent months, the Kremlin has also increased pressure on Russian opposition supporters, independent journalists and human rights activists ahead of the upcoming September polls.
It is widely believed that this vote is an important part of Putin’s efforts to consolidate his rule before the 2024 presidential election.
The 68-year-old Russian 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.