The Kremlin is stepping up its offensives against Alexeï Navalny and his allies, attacked on all fronts. In addition to several convictions targeting the opponent and his relatives, proceedings have been launched to put the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) out of play, created in 2011 by the lawyer, now 44 years old.
A radical measure
At the request of the Moscow prosecutor’s office, the Russian justice system began examining on Monday April 26 a request for the inclusion of the FBK and the opponent’s regional offices on the list of organizations “Terrorists and extremists” of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee. This list currently has 33 names, including those of the Taliban, Daesh and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Pending the decision (probably Thursday April 29, date of the next hearing), the Russian justice ordered Monday the suspension of the activities of organizations linked to the imprisoned opponent.
Regarding the terms “extremism” and “terrorism”, the Moscow prosecution justified its request targeting groups linked to the Kremlin bête noire by considering that they “ are working to create the conditions for the destabilization of the social and socio-political situation ” in Russia. “The real objectives of their activities, he continues, are to create the conditions to change the foundations of constitutional order, including using the “color revolution” scenario ”.
→ LARGE FORMAT. Alexeï Navalny, a Russian destiny
The FBK is known for numerous investigations denouncing the wrongdoing of Russian elites. His most popular production was a video posted on YouTube last January accusing Vladimir Putin of having had a « palais » on the shores of the Black Sea. It has over 115 million views.
Heavy potential consequences
In the event of a favorable response to the request of the Moscow prosecutor’s office, the FBK would be banned and heavy sanctions would hit the collaborators of Alexeï Navalny, himself sentenced, in March, to two and a half years in prison for a fraud case dating back to to 2014.
Joining this list indeed paves the way for major convictions. Like those striking, since 2017, Jehovah’s Witnesses, declared extremists by the Russian Supreme Court and banned since. Several members of this religious community have been punished with terms of up to six years in prison, and searches targeting them have increased across the country.
Alexeï Navalny and Ivan Jdanov, director of the FBK, reacted by press release to the request of the Moscow public prosecutor’s office, considering that they had no doubts about the decision of the “Putin’s court”. They had assured that they “Will continue (their) work peacefully, publicly, effectively”.
→ READ. Alexeï Navalny: the Russian opposition at the foot of the wall
The FBK has already had its assets frozen in 2019, and received multiple fines, in particular for not having correctly declared to be “Foreign agent”, vague designation aimed at any organization benefiting from foreign funding and exercising a “Political activity”.
Alexeï Navalny’s hunger strike ends
Friday April 23, the opponent interrupted, at the request of doctors, a hunger strike started three weeks earlier to denounce his conditions of detention as well as the refusal of medical care to treat a herniated disc. According to his close associates, Alexeï Navalny was finally examined in a civilian hospital and his medical file transmitted to his doctors.
→ READ. Russia: Alexei Navalny ends his hunger strike
“The doctors in whom I fully believe announced yesterday (Thursday, Editor’s note) that we had achieved enough for me to end my hunger strike ”, wrote Alexeï Navalny announcing an end to his strike.
Alexeï Navalny was arrested as soon as he returned from Germany in January, after five months of convalescence to recover from his poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok.