The Russian justice system ordered Monday (26) the suspension of the activities of organizations linked to Alexei Navalni, the main name of the opposition to President Vladimir Putin. The Russian judiciary is nominally independent, but decisions are often in line with the interests of the Kremlin.
The judicial measure is linked to a process in which prosecutors seek the final ban on the groups, on charges of extremism. If convicted, organizations will be banned from participating in elections, organizing protests or posting content on the Internet.
The suspension was announced at the case’s first hearing, held behind closed doors – defenseless, according to Navalni allies – in a Moscow court. The next one is scheduled for Thursday (29), according to information from the AFP press agency.
Last Friday (23), Navalni, 44, ended a 24-day hunger strike alleging “great progress” in his form of protest at the Pokrov penal colony. His state of health has sparked international concern and threats of sanctions against Russia. “We all fully understand that there is no extremism in our work,” said Leonid Volkov, one of Navalni’s allies. “The accusation of extremism is used only as a pretext for political repression.”
On Twitter, Volkov posted images of the document with the court ruling highlighting snippets that cite as examples investigations into alleged extremism by groups linked to Navalni, demonstrations of political support for the opponent, and demonstrations of political support for the opponent. election campaigns against Putin.
Ten days ago, the Russian prosecution filed a lawsuit to brand organizations linked to Navalni as “extremists”, which would result in the groups being banned and could result in severe prison terms for employees and supporters. of the opponent.
According to the accusations, the entities seek to “create the conditions for the destabilization of the social and socio-political situation in Russia” and “to change the foundations of the constitutional order”.
The term “extremism” has a very broad definition in Russian law and allows authorities to fight opposition organizations, racist or terrorist factions, as well as religious groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), created by Navalni, is one of the main targets for prosecutors. According to the group’s director, Ivan Zhdanov, the activities of the FBK and other regional offices linked to the opponent were immediately suspended on Monday.
Allies said Navalni’s office in the Russian capital could no longer “work in the old format,” claiming “a danger to employees and employees”, but pledged “to continue fighting corruption at a personal level “. “It won’t be easy, but we will win for sure, because there are many of us and we are strong,” the office said via its Telegram channel.
An investigation by the FBK, which generally denounces cases of corruption of the Russian political elite, accuses Putin of owning a luxurious palace by the Black Sea. The video posted in January 2020 had more than 11 million views on YouTube and forced Putin to deny the accusation.
Earlier this month, a Russian court sentenced Pavel Zelenski, a Navalni ally who worked for the FBK, to two years in prison for posting two articles on Twitter criticizing the country’s authorities. The content was considered extremist. The headquarters of organizations linked to Navalni and even the homes of its collaborators have been the frequent target of police operations in recent years, which the opposition denounces as judicial persecution in an attempt to silence it.
Blogger and lawyer, Navalni appeared in the public arena during protests against Putin in 2012. The following year, he ran for mayor in Moscow and won 27% of the vote. But it was in 2017 that he appeared to the world, when he ordered via the Internet the call for a day of protests that united thousands of people in the streets. Due to legal proceedings, he was not allowed to appear against Putin in 2018.
He then moved on to another tactic: to favor any candidacy at the regional level as opposed to United Russia, the party in power. He achieved symbolic successes in the local elections of 2019 and 2020, and his return to Russia was seen as preparation for the shock of the parliamentary elections in September. Now, with him in prison, his wife, Iulia Navalnaia, is expected to rise to prominence in the face of Putin.
Navalni was poisoned in August 2020 and directly accused Putin of the assassination attempt. He was treated in Berlin, where doctors said they found traces of Novichok, a famous poison used by the Russian secret service, on his body.
Next, Navalni released the recording of a joke he made to one of the FSB (Federal Security Service, successor to the KGB) agents identified as the perpetrators of the attack – in him, the spy Believes to speak to a superior and admits to putting poison in the activist man’s underwear in a hotel room. The Kremlin denies any involvement, and Putin joked that if Russia had wanted to kill Navalni, it would have done so.
The opponent was arrested in January, returning to Russia after being treated in Germany for poisoning. The activist is formally accused of violating the conditions of his probation by leaving the country, even though the release occurred for medical reasons – he was in a coma.
Navalni was sentenced to jail for commuted fraud in 2014, in a trial he calls judicial harassment. Russian courts upheld the anti-corruption activist’s verdict last month. In total, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, of which he has already served ten months at home.
THE NAVALNI CASE
2012 Alexei Navalni, blogger and lawyer, appears in the public arena during protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin
2013 Moscow mayoral candidates and win 27% of the vote; Serguei Sobianin was elected with 51.37% of the vote
2017 The opponent gains worldwide notoriety by ordering via the Internet the call for a day of demonstrations which brought thousands of people to the streets of Russia; country’s electoral commission prevents Navalni from running against Putin in elections the following year after being convicted in 2013 of embezzlement in a province
20.ago.20 Navalni is admitted to a Siberian hospital for being ill on a flight to Moscow and is in a coma; his spokesperson says he was poisoned, but the head of the medical center says the diagnosis is metabolic disease caused by hypoglycemia
22.ago.20 After the pressure, the medics withdraw and the opponent is transferred to a hospital in Berlin, Germany
24.ago.20 German doctors responsible for the treatment of Navalni confirm poisoning by a substance acting on the nervous system
2.set.20 Germany claims that the opposing leader was poisoned with Novichok, a group of neurological agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s and a substance in the same family of the poison identified by the United Kingdom in 2018, in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal; Kremlin denies any involvement
7.set.20 Navalni comes out of induced coma, but still depends on help from life support
15.set.20 Opponent posts his first recovery photo on social media, in which he says he no longer needs breathing apparatus
23.set.20 Hospital leaves Navalni, who remains in Germany
17.Dec.20 On the charges, Putin said in a traditional annual press conference that if the Russian secret service wanted to poison the opposing leader, “they probably would have ended him.”
21. December 20 Navalni discloses the recording of a joke he addressed to one of the FSB (Federal Security Service, successor to the KGB) agents identified as the perpetrators of the attack in which the spy believed talking to a superior and admits to putting poison in the activist’s underwear in a hotel room
17.Jan.21 Opposition leader leaves Germany, returns to Russia and is arrested on landing at Moscow airport because his prolonged departure from the country violated his parole following a conviction for fraud with stay in 2014
23. January 21 Thousands of people take to the streets in Russia against the arrest of Navalni, in acts committed in a hundred cities which end up with at least 2,500 detainees
31. January 21. 5,600 other pro-Navalni protesters arrested in new protests
2. January 21 Russian justice reactivates the 3.5-year sentence against Navalni for violation of parole; as he had already been in prison at home for 10 months after a first conviction, he will serve the remaining two years and eight months in a penal colony; hearing generates protests in the country and at least 1,200 are detained, according to an NGO
On February 21, Russia expels diplomats from Germany, Sweden and Poland for participating in protests in January against arrest of opposition leader
February 8, 21 Germany, Sweden and Poland react and also expel Russian diplomats from their countries
February 14 and 21 On Valentine’s Day in Russia, Navalni supporters organize candlelight protest acts
20. February 21 The opponent suffers a double legal defeat after the court dismissed the appeal against his arrest and found him guilty of defamation against a veteran of the Second World War, applying a fine of 850,000 rubles (R $ 61,800) for defamation
24. February 21 Navalni leaves the Moscow detention center to be transferred to a penal colony 200 km from the Russian capital; according to the Russian RIA news agency, he arrived at the scene four days later, on February 28.
12 Mar 21 The leader of the opposition is transferred to another penal colony, unbeknownst to the lawyers
25 March 21 Navalni accuses the guards of the penal colony 100 km from Moscow of having deprived him of sleep during the notie, a practice which he equates to torture, and of having refused access to medical treatment adequate
March 31, 21 Opponent goes on hunger strike due to conditions of detention
17.abr.21 Doctors accompanying him remotely said he could go into cardiac arrest at any time, due to lack of nutrients in his body
19.Apr.21 Navalni is transferred to the hospital unit
23.Apr.21 Opponent ends hunger strike after 24 days
26.abr.21 Justice decides on suspension of activities of organizations linked to Navalni