Russia adds Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to 'terrorists' list

It follows an unprecedented crackdown on dissent in Russia, including the jailing of Navalny last January and the outlawing of his political organisations.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny looks at a camera while speaking via a video link from a prison during a court session

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny looks at a camera while speaking via a video link from a prison during a court session Source: AP

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a number of his allies have been added to a list of "terrorists and extremists" by Russia, as authorities further clamp down on the opposition. 

Mr Navalny and others close to him, including key aide Lyubov Sobol, appeared in a database of banned individuals compiled by the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring on Tuesday.

The past year has seen an unprecedented crackdown on dissent in Russia, including the jailing of President Vladimir Putin's top critic Mr Navalny last January and the outlawing of his political organisations.

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Almost all of his top allies, including Ms Sobol, have since fled the country.



According to Mr Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was declared extremist and shut down last year, a dozen Navalny allies were added to the list on Tuesday.

They include anti-corruption investigator Georgy Alburov, lawyer Vyacheslav Gimadi and several former coordinators of Mr Navalny's regional offices that were also branded extremist last year. 

The decision puts them on a par with right-wing nationalist groups and foreign terrorist organisations, including the Taliban and the Islamic State extremist group.

Ms Sobol, 34, was a lawyer for Mr Navalny's anti-corruption foundation and producer of the opposition politician's YouTube channel. She has been wanted by Russian police since October.

"Participated in elections and was fighting corruption? Extremist," Ms Sobol tweeted. 

Earlier this month, two other key Navalny aides, Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov,  were added to the list. 

They mocked the "terrorist" tag on Tuesday.

'Super team of terrorists'

Mr Volkov, who used to oversee Mr Navalny's regional offices, tweeted that he was "proud to work in our team of 'extremists and terrorists'."

"It's great that our super team of 'terrorists' is being joined by such great people," Mr Zhdanov, who headed the now-disbanded Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Twitter.

EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano condemned the move, calling it part of "continued repression against critical voices" in Russia. 

Last month, investigators questioned several former regional Navalny coordinators, including Ksenia Fadeyeva, who is also a politician in the Siberian city of Tomsk. She was also added to the "terrorists" list on Tuesday.

Separately, in an apparent attempt to put further pressure on the opposition, prison officials have asked a Moscow court to convert a suspended sentence handed to Mr Navalny's brother Oleg into real jail time. 

On Monday, Moscow's Lyublinsky district court registered that request.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in a cage in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in a cage in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 Source: AP


Last year, Oleg Navalny was handed a one-year suspended sentence for breaking anti-coronavirus restrictions during protests demanding his brother's release. 

Mr Navalny was detained in January 2021 on arrival from Germany, where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning attack he and the West blame on the Kremlin. 

In February, he was jailed for more than two years on old fraud charges.

His poisoning and arrest sparked widespread condemnation abroad as well as sanctions from Western capitals.



The European Parliament last year awarded him the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought after he was nominated but passed over for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Investigators launched a new extremism probe against Mr Navalny in 2021 that could see the opposition leader spend up to 10 more years in jail.

Authorities have designated dozens of rights groups, media outlets, journalists and anti-Kremlin figures "foreign agents". 

In December, courts ordered the shutdown of the country's most prominent rights group, Memorial.


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4 min read
Published 26 January 2022 at 6:37am
Source: AFP,SBS

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