Aug 10, 2021 - World

Russia accuses Navalny allies of funding extremist groups

Picture of Navalny
Alexei Navalny. Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Russian authorities on Tuesday announced a new criminal case against the two closest allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, AP reports.

State of play: The Investigative Committee of Russia is accusing Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov, both of whom have left the country, of funding extremist groups. In June, a Russian court ruled that organizations founded by Navalny were extremist groups because they had plans to overthrow the government.

  • Navalny was sentenced to 2½ years in prison. He was arrested in January upon returning from Germany, where he was recovering from a nerve poisoning that he says the Kremlin is responsible for.
  • The two men could face up to eight years in prison, according to Zhdanov.
  • The Investigative Committee said it was investigating other individuals, but did not name them.

What's happening: Navalny's team announced last week that they would continue fundraising efforts by using encrypted transactions to allow donors to remain anonymous, AP notes. The committee then said Navalny's allies were continuing "illegal activities" of the extremist organizations.

What they're saying: "I have already lost count of the number of criminal cases that have been brought against me. I violated electoral rights, evaded the army, did not execute court decisions, hid money, stole money, legalized money, what else is there?" Zhdanov wrote on Instagram.

  • "The regime is mad and this madness is dangerous," he added.
  • "Politics in Russia in 2021 — when you sit at a meeting, your phone starts to explode from push notifications, questions and calls, you habitually think: 'Oh, probably a new criminal offense,' and calmly continue the meeting, then check the messages and there really is a new criminal offense," Volkov said on Facebook.
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