The Moscow court officially referred to the organization of Russia’s most famous opposition leader as an “extremist organization.” This means that the organization of Alexei Navalny has now been banned. His supporters will no longer be able to participate in the National Duma elections to be held in September.
The verdict was made after a closed-door hearing. The case is being regarded as a “state secret” by the authorities.
Earlier, the judge had ruled that Navalny’s team must immediately suspend all activities and wait for the verdict. Team members are no longer allowed to post any content online, no longer organize protests, and their bank accounts are also frozen.
Al Qaeda, IS, Navalny
According to the Russian Prosecutor’s Office, Navalny’s organization is engaged in activities that “destabilize the country”. It also “helps international organizations operate on Russian territory.” Therefore, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested a total ban. Now that the organization has been officially labeled as an extremist, Navalny’s organization belongs to the same alliance with Al-Qaida and the Islamic State. Since 2017, the sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses has also been included in the Russian extremist list.
This makes it almost impossible for Navalny’s teammates to perform their duties. In theory, even sharing social media posts related to the Navalny organization could put someone in jail for years. Not to mention calling for or participating in demonstrations.
This decision is a major blow to the Russian opposition. “This will open the way for hundreds of criminal cases, and each of our employees will be attacked and face at least two to six years in prison,” Zinavarny’s team When the prosecution’s request is announced.
Since the beginning of this year, the police have arrested protesters, opposition politicians and lawyers. Critical journalists and media were labelled “foreign agents” and suppressed. The Duma has also been passing new laws to make it easier for Russians to be arrested for various things.
Correspondent Iris de Graaf interviewed three young Russian critics of NOS, who also had to deal with this issue recently:
Analysts and human rights organizations said that this was “the worst repression in the country since the Soviet era.” This seems to be related to the parliamentary election in September this year.
Navalny’s organization also established this connection, because Navalny’s regional campaign office is also covered by extremist labels. Navalny’s opposition network not only played an important role in organizing demonstrations across Russia, but also mobilized the “smart voting” system created by Navalny.
The system is used to calculate which opposition candidate in each seat is most likely to defeat Putin’s United Russia Party candidate.United russia is Less popular than ever And recently lost many regional seats, and Navalny’s regional office promoted the success of local elections. The State Duma passed a law every month prohibiting individuals participating in extremism from running for parliament.
The Battle of Navalny no longer exists
As a precaution, Navalny’s employees have seen the shower and closed all offices on April 29. Social media accounts were taken offline and posts were deleted. Many employees went abroad. “The Navalny campaign no longer exists,” Chief of Staff Leonid Volkov said at the time.
It is not yet clear to what extent the “extreme organization” seal is retroactive, and its implementation on old social media posts and previously published YouTube videos. Navalny’s videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, sometimes millions of times.