The Russian Justice has declared this Wednesday “extremists” to several organizations linked to Alexei Navalni, which means, in practice, the immediate dismantling of the opposition leader’s political movement, currently in prison for an old criminal case. The judge has handed down a sentence after 12 and a half hours of trial behind closed doors in the Moscow Municipal Court, as reported by the defense on its Telegram channel.
The ruling affects the Navalni anti-corruption foundation, as well as organizations linked to the political opposition to Vladimir Putin. This “extremist” status effectively prohibits dissidents linked to these projects from running as independent candidates.
The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office announced on April 16 that it was seeking to declare “extremists” the non-profit organizations founded by Navalni: the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), the Fund for the Protection of Citizens’ Rights (FZPG) and the network of offices of the opposition leader’s political movement.
The accusation maintains, among other arguments, that “the real objectives of its activities are to create the conditions to reverse the foundations of the constitutional order.”
In April, the prosecutor took a first step towards dismantling the Navalni structures by suspending certain activities of the opposition’s political movement, whose network of offices is spread over various Russian regions from the Far East to Moscow.
The next day a judge did the same with the FBK – the scourge of illicit enrichment among senior Russian officials – and the FZPG.
Cornered by the Russian authorities and the justice system, the opposition leader decided on April 29 to anticipate a judicial decision that he considers inevitable and dissolved his network of offices to protect his collaborators from criminal prosecution.
The day after the dissolution of the Navalni headquarters, it became known that the Russian financial supervisor, Rosfinmonitoring, had already included this platform in the list of organizations with links to extremist and terrorist activities, which restricted its financial activities.
As Navalni’s organizations are classified as “extremists”, anyone who is considered a member can be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. In addition, donating money to organizations under this denomination can carry up to 10 years in prison, and anyone who uses their logos, symbols and posters can be banned as a candidate for elections.
At the same time, Russia last month adopted a law that will prohibit anyone involved in the activities of extremist organizations from standing in elections at any level, a measure that will especially affect the movement of the opposition Alexei Navalni.
Alexéi Navalni is serving a jail sentence of two years and eight months for violating the probation of a previous sentence. This violation occurred when the opponent was recovering in Germany from poisoning. After being imprisoned, Navalni began a hunger strike that ended when the opponent had to be admitted to a hospital, as his health condition was “very worrying.”