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Navalny, allies added to Russian list of terrorists

Imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and eight of his allies were added to Russia’s list of terrorists and extremists on Tuesday.

Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service added Navalny and his top aides, Lyubov Sobol and Georgy Alburov, to Moscow’s registry of terrorists and extremists, according to The Associated Press. It is required by law that individuals on the list have their bank accounts frozen. 

The move comes days after the first anniversary of Navalny’s arrest, which sparked mass protests in Russia. The opposition leader was detained in January 2021 upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he was recovering after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok in August 2020.

Russian authorities accused Navalny of violating his parole from a previous conviction when he left Russia. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Navalny’s allies believe his prior conviction was politically motivated. 

The U.S. and other nations have blamed Russia for Navalny’s poisoning, but the Kremlin has denied being involved in the incident.

The Investigative Committee of Russia hit Navalny with new criminal charges in August, alleging that he established a noncommercial organization that “infringes on people’s rights.” 

The committee pointed to Navalny’s foundation, which he has led with others since 2011, and argued that it encouraged individuals to commit “unlawful acts” by persuading Russians to participate in unauthorized rallies in January.

The European Union called on Russia to release Navalny on Jan. 17, exactly one year after his arrest, urging Moscow to immediately release the opposition leader without conditions and “comply with the interim measure granted by the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the nature and extent of risk to Mr Navalny’s life.”

Sobol, who departed Russia after going on trial twice for criminal charges, told the AP that she believes the Kremlin was behind the decision to add herself, Navalny and other allies to the list of extremists. 

“There’s absolutely no doubt that the decision regarding myself, Navalny and my closest associates and colleagues was made in the Kremlin with personal contribution by Vladimir Putin,” Sobol told the news wire. 

“I think he has all matters involving our team under a special control, and it’s not a decision made by lower-ranked officials,” she added.

Tags alexei navalny Georgy Alburov Lyubov Sobol Russia Russian opposition Vladimir Putin

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