Navalni allies accuse Putin of shutting down opposition-linked websites – 07/26/2021 – World

In a context of growing repression in Russia and less than two months before the legislative elections, the allies of Alexei Navalni, the main opponent of President Vladimir Putin, accuse the government of blocking access to 49 websites linked to organizations of opposition.

According to information made on social networks, it is no longer possible to access these portals on Russian territory – the AFP news agency has confirmed the inability to access Navalni’s website.

The ban is said to have come from the Russian Internet and Media Regulatory Service (Roskomnadzor), the body which, in March, determined the reduction in the speed of access to Twitter in retaliation for alleged failures in removing publications calling on the population to leave. in the street to protest against the government.

One of those whose website was blocked in the country was Leonid Volkov, a Navalni ally who is in exile in Lithuania. He said the measures were aimed at further stifling the opposition ahead of the September 19 parliamentary elections, especially Putin’s United Russia Party, which is gaining in unpopularity. “We will tell you soon how to get around this situation,” Volkov said on a social network.

In April, a Russian court, under the influence of the Kremlin, ordered the suspension of the activities of organizations of these same organizations, on charges of extremism. Months later, in June, he effectively banned the two main organizations linked to Navalni: the Anti-Corruption Fund and an associated entity, the Organization for the Protection of Citizens’ Rights.

The fund had been operating under the “foreign agent” classification since 2019. Thus, its accounts were heavily audited, and the movements of its members were legally monitored. Known for its investigations into corrupt acts committed by the Russian elite, the organization was primarily responsible for calling protests and organizing election campaigns.

The new stage closes even more the headquarters of the opposition, which already has its main key figure withdrawn from activities. Alexei Navalni has been in prison since January, when he returned to the country 150 days after being poisoned in Siberia and taken for treatment in Germany – he directly blames President Putin for the assassination attempt, which the Russian leader says denies.

The activist and blogger is in a penal colony, with a conspicuous monitoring system, and has previously reported that authorities have denied him access to adequate medical treatment and adopted a practice he compares to torture.

He is formally accused of violating the conditions of his probation by leaving the country, even if the departure was for medical reasons – he was in a coma. The opponent received a commuted prison sentence for fraud in 2014 in a trial he calls prosecution.

Courts across the country upheld the activist’s conviction in February. In total, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, of which he served ten months at home.

Various Western countries, as well as the European Court of Human Rights, have called on Russia to release Navalni, a reaction Moscow has called unacceptable interference in its internal affairs.

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