Russia: Alexei Navalny’s lieutenants considered “terrorists and extremists” by the Kremlin

Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov have been added to a list of terrorists and extremists by the Russian services. Both men are in exile abroad.

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The persecution of relatives of Alexei Navalny continues in Russia. His two main lieutenants were added to the Russian catalog of “terrorists and extremists”, a few days before the first anniversary of the opponent’s arrest and the relentless repression of his movement that followed. Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov, in exile abroad, are now considered “terrorists and extremists”, according to a list of the Russian financial intelligence service, Rosfinmonitoring, consulted Friday, January 14 by AFP.

“We are pioneers for this kind of nonsense”, reacted Ivan Zhdanov on Twitter. The two opponents, aged 33 and 41, were respectively in charge of Navalny’s anti-corruption fund (FBK) and his organization’s regional network until they were banned in June 2021. These two organizations had been banned for “extremism” by Russian justice, leading to the flight abroad of most of their executives, for fear of prosecution. Among those who chose to stay, several were arrested.

Alexei Navalny was arrested on January 17, 2021 in Moscow, returning from convalescence in Germany after a serious poisoning for which he holds President Vladimir Putin responsible. The 45-year-old anti-corruption activist, the most famous opponent of the Kremlin, then received a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for a case of “fraud” which he denounces as political. He is also the target of new prosecutions for “extremism” which could keep him behind bars for many years.

The repression of Alexei Navalny’s movement was followed by growing pressure against media critics of the Kremlin and NGOs, designated at all costs “foreign agents”, an infamous label that greatly complicates their work under penalty of serious prosecution. Last December, the NGO Memorial, pillar of the defense of human rights and guardian of the memory of the victims of the Gulag, was thus banned by the Russian justice system for not having respected its obligations. “foreign agents”.

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