A Moscow court has officially classified the organization of Russia’s most famous opposition leader as an “extremist organisation”. This means that organizing Alexei Navalny is now prohibited. His supporters will no longer be able to participate in the Duma elections scheduled for September.
The verdict came after a closed hearing. The authorities are treating the case as a “state secret.”
Earlier, the judge had already ruled that Navalny’s team must suspend all activities with immediate effect pending the ruling. Team members are no longer allowed to post anything online, they are no longer organizing protests and their bank accounts have been frozen.
Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Navalny
According to the Russian prosecutor, Navalny’s organization is engaged in “destabilizing the country.” It also “helps international organizations operate on Russian soil.” Therefore, the Public Prosecution Office demanded a complete ban. Now that the organization is officially classified as extremist, Navalny’s organization falls into the same league as al-Qaeda and ISIS. Jehovah’s Witnesses have also been on Russia’s extremism list since 2017.
This makes it virtually impossible for his teammates to carry out their duties. Even sharing social media posts related to Navalny’s organization could theoretically put someone behind bars for years. Not to mention calling for demonstrations or participating in them.
The decision is a major slap in the face to the Russian opposition. “This will open the way to hundreds of criminal cases, and every one of our employees will be attacked and will face at least two to six years in prison,” he said. Team Z Navalny When the prosecution’s request was announced.
Since the beginning of this year, police have arrested protesters, opposition politicians and lawyers. Journalists and critical media are silenced by being labeled “foreign agents”. The State Duma also passes new laws all the time, which makes it easier for Russians to get caught for all sorts of things.
Reporter Iris de Graaf 3 visited young Russians critical of NOS, who recently had to deal with this: