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Russia adds Navalny network to 'extremist' list

April 30, 2021

The jailed Kremlin critic's network of regional campaign offices is now on a list of organizations involved in "terrorism and extremism."

Alexei Navalny appears at a court hearing in Moscow via video link
Alexei Navalny appeared in public Thursday for the first time since ending a hunger strikeImage: Babuskinsky District Court Press Service via AP/picture alliance

Russia added jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's political network to its database of terrorist and extremist organizations on Friday.

The network of Navalny's regional offices had disbanded Thursday in anticipation of the move.

What is Navalny's network of offices?

Navalny set up the network of offices in dozens of regions across Russia, while campaigning to run against Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 2018 presidential election.

Although he was eventually barred from running, the offices remained. Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has continued investigating graft by local officials supported by these offices.

Russia's Navalny appears in public - Aaron Tilton reports

Russian prosecutors earlier requested that Navalny's foundation be classified as an extremist organization, together with groups such as "Islamic State" and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Why have the offices been targeted?

The decision to place the offices on the terrorism database is the latest move by the Russian government, targeting founder Navalny as well as his supporters and allies.

Navalny is currently serving time in jail for violating parole requirements related to an earlier suspended sentence over 2014 embezzlement charges. He claims the charges against him are politically motivated.

Russian authorities earlier on Friday arrested Ivan Pavlov, a lawyer who was defending Navalny's FBK in an extremism trial.

The lawyer had been due to appear in court on Friday in the case of former journalist Ivan Safronov.

kmm/rt (Reuters, AFP)