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Russian court bans organization of Alexei Navalny – POLITICO

A Russian court called the political organization of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny late Wednesday evening “extremist” and effectively banned the movement’s activities.

The decision, widely awaited after the Russian prosecutor’s office shut down the political organization’s activities in April, will prevent Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) from working and effectively prevent its allies from running for elections. It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law earlier this month banning those associated with extremist groups from running for office for three to five years. The Russians will vote in the autumn parliamentary elections.

“Tonight a court in Moscow recognized the FBK network and Navalny’s headquarters as extremist organizations,” said a post on the Russian opposition leader’s Instagram. “If corruption is the basis of government, fighters against corruption are called extremists.”

The post added: “We will not withdraw from our goals and ideas. This is our country and we have no other. Please stay with us. “

The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the judgment in a statement as “perverse”. “It’s another Kafka-style attack on those who stand up against corruption and for open societies, and is a deliberate attempt to effectively ban real political opposition in Russia.”

Navalny’s top aide Lyubov Sobol tweeted: “At night, in a closed process, with no access for the press or the public, the ‘court’ recognized the regional headquarters of the FBK and Alexei Navalny as extremist organizations. This process will go down in the history books as one of the most shameful of the years of Putin’s rule. “

The verdict comes before US President Joe Biden’s summit meeting with Putin in Geneva on June 16, which was due, among other things, to concerns of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Navalny was arrested earlier this year and sentenced to two and a half years in prison after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was recovering from poisoning with the neurotoxin Novichok, an attack he attributes to the Russian state. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

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