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Russian police raid Navalny's office

December 26, 2019

Alexei Navalny has been targeted again in a raid on his anti-corruption center. It comes after one of his allies was forcibly sent to a remote outpost in the arctic.

A still image of a screen shows a CCTV footage at the headquarters of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation during a police raid in Moscow
Image: Reuters/FBK

Russian politician Alexei Navalny was dragged by police on Thursday during a raid on his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) headquarters in Moscow, according to his spokeswoman.

"Alexei was forcibly detained and taken away. He did not resist. Lawyers are still at the FBK, and there's a search underway," Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter.

He was released shortly afterwards, Yarmysh said.

 Russia's crackdown on Alexei Navalny seen as an 'intimidation tactic'

Speaking to DW, Yarmysh said police timed the raid to coincide with the filming of an episode of Navalny's YouTube show "Navalny Live," so that "there can be no show."

She said last week's episode — which covered a shooting outside the FSB building and Putin’s press conference — garnered nearly 1.5 million views,  a "record number." 

"They didn’t like that success," she told DW, adding: "If they search our offices they can seize our technical equipment, so there can be no show."

Everyday occurence

Yarmysh said searches at opposition offices have become "almost an everyday thing."

In September and October, there were mass raids in FBK offices across the country, as well as in the homes of the foundation’s employees. The group was declared a "foreign agent" by Russian authorities in October.

The latest raid comes after one of Navalny's allies, Ruslan Shaveddinov, was forcibly conscripted into the military and sent to a remote arctic outpost. 

Yarmysh said Shaveddinov’s detention is "personal pressure againt" the activist, rather than part of a broader campaign against Navalny's allies. In a blog post, Navlny called the 23-year-old a "political prisoner."

In recent years, Russian authorities have been ramping up pressure on Navalny and his allies. Navalny helped organize major protests against the government this summer, calling for fair elections. Navalny has been jailed repeatedly over recent years.

Leonid Volkov, who works at the institute, said police broke down doors, herded employees into an office and seized equipment.

Emily Sherwin contributed to this report.

aw/sms (Reuters, AFP, Interfax)

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