The Anti-Corruption Fund and two other organizations close to the opponent were deemed “extremist” and are banned. Russian justice accuses them of attempts to “destabilize”. Washington and the EU condemned this move.
At the end of a 12-hour hearing, the Moscow court on June 9 followed the request of the public prosecutor’s office in the Russian capital to designate as “extremists” three organizations close to Alexeï Navalny and his supporters: the Fund for fight against corruption (FBK), founded by the opponent, the Foundation for Citizens’ Rights (FZPG) and “Navalny Headquarters”. The court’s press service, quoted by the Tass news agency, said the judgment was effective immediately “in terms of shutting down these organizations.”
The prosecutor clarified that the FBK regularly organized unauthorized events resulting in riots. He also said that representatives of the FBK had incited hatred against the representatives of the authorities of the Russian Federation and his supporters. “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.
FBK lawyers, whose comments were relayed by Reuters and AFP, have announced their intention to appeal the decision.
Alexeï Navalny, who is serving a sentence of two and a half years in prison in a penal colony, said on his Instagram account that he “will not back down.[it] not”. “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, ”he wrote. “We continue to fight corruption,” for its part promised the FBK on Twitter.
One consequence of the judgment is to make the members of these groups ineligible for the legislative elections next September, but also to expose them to prison terms. Indeed, Russian President Vladimir Poutine on June 4 promulgated a law passed by Parliament, according to which members of organizations deemed “extremist” or “terrorist” could be temporarily excluded from the elections. The opposition sees it as a way of muzzling it.
Russian justice denounces attempts at “color revolution”, the West is worried
In April, the Moscow prosecutor’s office asked the courts to add the three NGOs concerned to the list of “extremist” organizations of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee. In question, according to the prosecutor’s office: “Under cover of liberal slogans, these organizations are working to create an environment which destabilizes the social and socio-political situation. The real objectives of their activity are to create the conditions to change the foundations of the constitutional order, including through the use of a color revolution scenario. ”
For their part, the United States called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Alexei Navalny, while condemning the decision to designate these organizations as extremists, which they consider “particularly worrying”. “This decision places employees, volunteers and thousands of supporters across Russia at risk of criminal prosecution and imprisonment for the exercise of basic human rights guaranteed by the Russian Constitution,” said the spokesperson for US diplomacy Ned Price in a statement.
Denouncing a “perverse” decision, the British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab for his part referred in a statement to a “new Kafkaesque attack on those who stand up against corruption and for open societies, and of a deliberate attempt to put effectively outside the law the real opposition in Russia ”.
The European Union has also reacted, citing an “unfounded decision” of the Russian justice.