Jan 25, 2022 - World

Russia adds opposition leader Alexei Navalny to terrorist list

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny appearing on a screen while speaking from prison in January 2021.
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny appearing on a screen while speaking from prison in January 2021. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Russian financial authorities added oppositional leader Alexei Navalny and several of his allies to the country’s registry of terrorists and extremists, freezing their bank accounts, according to AP.

Why it matters: Navalny and his allies' additions to the list, and several other recent actions against human rights organizations and independent media, are the latest displays of the Kremlin cracking down on political dissent. They are a sign that those who advocate for reforms in Russia risk being labeled as terrorists.

Russia's Federal Financial Monitoring Service added Navalny to the list roughly a year after he was sentenced to serve about 2.5 years in prison for violating parole.

  • He was charged with violating his parole for staying in Germany while he recovered from the attempted poisoning by Russian security forces in 2020.
  • Navalny and Western nations have condemned the charge and his prison sentence as being politically motivated.

A Russian court labeled Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, a group 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.

  • A new criminal case was opened against Navalny in September, and he stands accused of founding and leading an extremist group. If convicted, he could have a decade added to his prison sentence.

The big picture: In a major blow to the country's civil society, a Russian court ordered two prominent human rights groups to shut down in December after they were charged with violating Russia's "foreign agent" law and "justifying terrorism and extremism."

  • The Russian government has repeatedly used foreign agent and terrorist designations to suppress opposition figures, activists, journalists and human rights lawyers.

Go deeper: Navalny aides vow to keep up the fight from exile

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