Russia added on Tuesday the main opponent of the government, Alexei Navalnito the blacklist of “terrorists and extremists”, an advance in the repression towards the critical voices of the power of the Kremlin.
(Read here: Navalni, a year of democratic involution in Russia)
Navalni, who has been imprisoned for more than a year, and one of his closest collaborators who is in exile Liubov Sobol, were placed on the list of Rosfinmonitoring, the country’s financial surveillance service, AFP found.
(Also: Opponent Alexei Navalni is the subject of new accusations of ‘extremism’)
According to the Anti-Corruption Fund, Navalni’s organization, which has been banned since June, at least nine other people linked to the movement were also added to the list.
This decision is framed in a context of increasing repression against the opposition in Russia, both against politicians and the media and civil society actors critical of President Vladimir Putin.
In mid-January, two other top Navalni aides, Ivan Jdanov and Leonid Volkov, who also went into exile, were blacklisted. This registry includes thousands of people and organizations banned in Russia, such as the Islamic State jihadist group or the Afghan Taliban.
An increase in pressure
Navalni was arrested on January 17, 2021 upon arrival in Moscow, after months of convalescence in Germany after being poisoned in Siberia, a fact for which the opponent blames Putin.
Russia has not opened an investigation into this assassination attempt and considers that there is no evidence since it states that Germany has not shared the medical tests carried out on Navalni.
This 45-year-old staunch opponent of the Kremlin was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on his return to Russia for a case of “fraud”, an accusation that he denounced as politically motivated.
His conviction sparked a barrage of international criticism and new Western sanctions against Russia. In addition, important institutions such as the European Parliament expressed their support for Nalvani, who received the Sakharov Prize for the defense of freedom of conscience in 2021.
Despite being in prison, Navalni continues to urge Russians to stand firm, saying this month that he “doesn’t regret a second” about returning to his country. His arrest sparked several days of protests a year ago, but these demonstrations were repressed with violence. In June his political movement was banned and accused of “extremism”.
Navalni himself is the subject of new judicial proceedings for accusations of “extremism”, a cause that could keep him in prison for years.
The crackdown on Navalni supporters was followed by a campaign against critical media outlets and NGOs, which were designated “foreign agents,” a designation that complicates their work and exposes them to legal problems.
In December the emblematic NGO Memorial, which works for the defense of human rights and the protection of the memory of the gulag, was banned by the justice system accused of not having complied with the controversial law on “foreign agents”.
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