Russia bans Navalny’s political network by labeling it an ‘extremist’ group and arrests his lawyer in Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny pays respect to founder of Russia’s oldest human rights group and Sakharov Prize winner Lyudmila Alexeyeva in Moscow, Russia December 11, 2018.
Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Russia’s financial watchdog added Navalny’s political network to an extremist blacklist alongside groups like ISIS.
Meanwhile, one of his lawyers was arrested in Moscow on Friday.
Taken together, these moves represent a remarkable crackdown on dissent by Putin.
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Russia’s financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring on Friday blacklisted imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s political network as an extremist group, the Moscow Times reported, effectively banning the anti-corruption group in the country.
The move puts the network, which has primarily focused on investigating and exposing corruption, on a list alongside groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. It also means the network’s bank accounts can be blocked, the Times said. The network disbanded on Thursday ahead of an expected court ruling that would also dub it an extremist organization and prohibit the group’s operations.
Human rights organizations like Amnesty International have condemned the anticipated court ruling. "This looming ban has far reaching consequences for Russian civil society. Tens of thousands of peaceful activists and the staff of Aleksei Navalny’s organizations are in grave danger – if their organizations are deemed ‘extremist’ they will be at imminent risk of criminal prosecution," Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow office director, said in a recent statement.
Meanwhile, the lawyer defending Navalny’s network in the extremism case was arrested in Moscow on Friday, The New York Times reported, and charged with disclosing details of an investigation unrelated to the anti-corruption campaigner. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided attorney Ivan Pavlov’s Moscow hotel room early on Friday morning. Pavlov is a prominent human rights lawyer.
Taken together, these moves represent a remarkable crackdown on dissent by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has become increasingly autocratic over the course of his 20 years in power.
Navalny is Putin’s most prominent critic, and his imprisonment has sparked mass protests across Russia.
Appearing in a Moscow court via videolink on Thursday, Navalny denounced Putin as a "naked king" whose crown is "sliding from his ears." This came as a judge rejected an appeal from Navalny over a defamation conviction, which the anti-corruption campaigner slammed as politically motivated.
In August, Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok and nearly died. Navalny blamed the poisoning on Putin, whose critics often end up dying in violent or mysterious ways. Leaders across the world have condemned Putin over the poisoning, and President Joe Biden slapped new sanctions on Russia in March over the incident.
Navalny in September was transferred to Germany for treatment, and remained there for several months. Upon returning to Moscow in January, Navalny was promptly arrested and charged with violating the terms of his parole over a 2014 fraud conviction – including missing parole meetings while he was hospitalized in Germany for treatment. In February, Navalny was sentenced to two and half years in prison. His imprisonment has sparked worldwide condemnation and continues to be a put of contention between Putin and the West.
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Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/navalny-political-network-banned-in-russia-lawyer-arrested-in-moscow-2021-4

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