Russia has added jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny and several of his allies to its list of “terrorists and extremists,” as the government continues its assault on the country’s civil society.
The entries for Navalny and five of his associates — Lyubov Sobol, Vyacheslav Gimadi, Georgy Alburov, Lilia Chanysheva, and Ruslan Shaveddinov — appeared in the register of Rosfinmonitoring on January 25, putting them on the same level as right-wing nationalist groups and foreign terrorist organizations such as the Taliban and Islamic State.
The move marks the latest in an ongoing crackdown on Navalny’s now-outlawed political network and civil society more broadly.
Less than two weeks ago, two other close associates of Navalny, Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov, were added to the list, which by law means their bank accounts must be frozen immediately.
Over the past year since Navalny returned from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack that almost killed him, thousands of protesters have been detained for demonstrating in support of the Kremlin critic, with many jailed.
More than half of his political coordinators have left Russia or been arrested for their activism, with some placed on wanted lists as “terrorists” or “extremists.”
Journalists who probed the circumstances of Navalny’s poisoning and cited his corruption investigations have been branded “foreign agents.”
Last year, the Moscow City Court declared all organizations linked to Navalny as “extremist,” preventing people associated with Navalny and his network of regional offices across Russia from seeking public office.
The ruling on his organizations also carries possible lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with them.
Navalny himself has been in prison since February 2021 after being speedily tried and handed a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for violating the terms of an earlier parole in what was widely regarded a trumped-up, politically motivated case.
Navalny has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his poisoning with a Novichok-style chemical substance.
The Kremlin has denied any role in Navalny’s poisoning.