Navalny and his associates are accused of forming a Russian extremist group, and a criminal investigation has been launched.
Russian authorities launched a criminal investigation into opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is presently detained, and his associates on Tuesday.
Authorities have accused Navalny and his group of founding an extremist group as well as being involved in one, as part of a multi-pronged assault on dissidents.
Navalny, Leonid Volkov, and Ivan Zhdanov are being investigated by the Russian Investigative Committee for forming and directing an extremist group, according to a statement.
A guilty finding might result in a sentence of up to ten years in jail.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Lyubov Sobol, another close Navalyn associate, said, “Many in Russian opposition circles had hoped that the steamroller of political repressions would stop after the election of the State Duma, but it was obvious to me that it would go on right up until 2024, when [President] Vladimir Putin would want to get reelected.”
See the following links for further Associated Press reporting:
According to the statement, several other close acquaintances of the politician, including Sobol, Georgy Alburov, and Ruslan Shaveddinov, are being investigated for possible participation in an extremist group. They might face up to six years in prison if convicted.
Navalny and his associates, according to the Investigative Committee, founded the Foundation for Fighting Corruption, established a large network of regional offices, and launched websites, social media pages, and YouTube channels with the goal of “discrediting the authorities and their policies, destabilizing the situation in the regions, igniting a protest sentiment among the population, and forming public opportunists.”
The current investigation, according to Navalny’s colleagues, is part of the crackdown that began in the months leading up to Russia’s parliamentary election on September 19, and they expect it to last for months, if not years.
Putin’s current presidential term ends in 2024, and he will either seek for reelection, owing to a constitutional reform package pushed through by the Kremlin last year, or select another approach to continue in power. According to analysts and Kremlin critics, choosing an obedient parliament this year could be critical to both choices.
The current case against the Navalny team, according to Sobol, is politically driven.
“We’ve never been nice to anyone. This is a condensed version of the information.