Sep 28, 2021 - World

Russia opens new criminal case against Putin critic Alexei Navalny

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a rally in Moscow, Russia, in September 2019.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a rally in Moscow in September 2019. Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russia opened a new criminal case against opposition figure Alexei Navalny that could leave him in jail for an additional decade, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Navalny, who survived an assassination attempt by Russian security forces last year, is already serving out a three-year prison sentence on parole violations that he and Western nations have condemned as politically motivated.

  • In February, he was found guilty of breaking the terms of his parole by staying in Germany while he recovered from the attempted poisoning.

Navalny was named as a suspect for founding and leading an extremist group in the new case, according to Reuters.

  • A Russian court labeled Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, created to expose corruption within the Kremlin, "extremist" in June, meaning that anyone associated with the group could face prison sentences of up to 10 years.

The big picture: It comes after the Russian government opened three additional investigations against him in May and the country's recent parliamentary elections, during which President Vladimir Putin's ruling party retained its supermajority, Axios' Zachary Basu reports.

  • The elections were condemned by the U.S. as being marred by widespread irregularities, including reports of ballot-stuffing and restrictions on Putin critics and oppositional candidates.
  • Before the elections, Apple and Google deleted a voting assistance app associated with Navalny from their app stores after the Kremlin threatened to arrest their employees and fine them.

What they're saying: Navalny, in his first interview since his arrest in January, likened his experience as a political prisoner in Russia to a person in a "Chinese labor camp."

Go deeper: Alexei Navalny describes "psychological violence" in first interview from jail

Go deeper