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Russian justice designates Navalny organizations as “extremist”

A few months away from the legislative elections in September, a Moscow court on Wednesday ordered the liquidation of the organizations of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny, in particular his Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK), known for its resounding investigations into the lifestyle and embezzlement of Russian elites, and its offices regional organizations, which are responsible for organizing demonstrations and electoral campaigns.

“It was recognized that these organizations not only voluntarily disseminated information inciting hatred and hostility towards the representatives of power but also committed extremist crimes and offenses”, told reporters a representative of the prosecution, Alexei Jafiarov, after the announcement of the decision. This judgment, at the end of a closed hearing, comes after months of repression targeting the Russian opposition, marked by sending Alexeï Navalny, 45, to a penal colony, the exile of several executives of his movement, but also measures targeting the independent press and other critical voices.

A message published this Wednesday evening on Alexeï Navalny’s Instagram account called on his supporters to continue to support him and to join his team’s voting instructions for the legislative elections in the fall. “We will manage, we will evolve, we will adapt. But we will not shrink from our goals and our ideas. This is our country and we have no other ”, we still read.

A trial whose outcome was not in doubt

Started in the morning, Wednesday’s hearing lasted more than twelve hours, according to lawyers for the Komanda 29 team, which defended the FBK in particular and which announced its intention to appeal the decision.

The lawyers denounced in a statement “a trial in camera with certain classified documents”. “At the last hearing, all the defense requests were dismissed and no sufficient evidence of guilt was presented,” they said.

The prosecution welcomed a judgment “legal and justified”.

The outcome of this procedure left little doubt, the network of regional offices of Mr. Navalny having already been classified at the end of April in the list of “extremist” organizations of the financial monitoring service. As a result, the network proceeded to self-dissolve to avoid prosecution of its members.

Justice on Wednesday ordered the liquidation of the remaining organizations, including the FBK.

Risk of prison

The collaborators of formations considered “extremist” risk in Russia of heavy prison sentences and are deprived of participation in the elections since a law promulgated last week by President Vladimir Poutine.

For the opposition, this text aims to neutralize the dangerous candidates for power before the legislative elections in September, which promise to be delicate for the Kremlin party, United Russia, which is declining in the polls in a context of economic stagnation.

The repression of the opposition in Russia in recent months has targeted not only the movement of Mr. Navalny, but also other critics of the Kremlin, such Andrei Pivovarov, arrested for having collaborated with the organization Open Russia (“Open Russia” ) of ex-oligarch in exile Mikhail Khodorkovsky, deemed “undesirable”.

Another figure of the protest worried by justice: Dmitri Goudkov, a liberal who planned to present himself to the legislative ones. After being arrested, then released, he finally decided to flee to Ukraine, where he denounced Wednesday to AFP the “dictatorial” drift of Vladimir Putin, determined to “destroy” the Russian opposition.

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