JAKARTADAILY.ID - Russian officials have elevated imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and several of his key allies to the country's list of terrorists and extremists, The Associated Press reported Tuesday (January 25, 2022).
Navalny, Russia and President Vladimir Putin's harshest critic, alongside eight of his associates, including key aides Lyubov Sobol and Georgy Alburov, were added to the list on Tuesday by Russia's Federal Financial Monitoring Service. The law demands that persons on the list have their bank accounts blocked.
Navalny was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for breaking the terms of a suspended sentence coming from a fraud conviction in 2014.
In the months that followed, Navalny's brother Oleg and many of his top allies faced criminal charges, and the authorities declared his Foundation for Fighting Corruption and a thriving network of regional offices to be extremist, effectively shutting them down.
Oleg was previously convicted of fraud along with his brother in 2014. While Alexei received a suspended sentence, Oleg was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. He was discharged in June 2018.
Lyubov Sobol, who fled the country after facing two criminal trials last year, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she felt the move to include Navalny, herself, and other allies on the list of terrorists and extremists were made in the Kremlin.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that the decision regarding myself, Navalny and my closest associates and colleagues was made in the Kremlin with personal contribution by Vladimir Putin,” Sobol stated
The Russian onslaught on Alexei Navalny and other dissenting views has sparked alarm in the West.
On Tuesday, EU foreign affairs spokesperson Peter Stano emphasized that “this is not acceptable, that we see this as a continued repression against the critical voices in Russian society.”