Dec 26, 2019

Russian authorities raid office of Putin critic Alexei Navalny

Photo: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP via Getty Images

Russian authorities raided the Moscow office of opposition leader Alexei Navalny Thursday, using power tools to enter the premises before taking laptops and other materials, the BBC reports.

The big picture: Navalny, an anti-corruption lawyer and politician, is the face of Russia's domestic opposition to President Vladimir Putin and has been jailed dozens of times as a result of his activism. Navalny was hospitalized in July after his doctor said he was poisoned with "undefined chemical substances."

Details: Navalny said the raid is connected to his refusal to remove a documentary film accusing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov of corruption, per BBC. A court ordered the video to be removed in 2017.

  • Navalny was removed from the office, but not detained. Video posted by a Navalny ally showed sparks flying as authorities appeared to force the door open with power tools.
  • It is the fourth raid on the office in the last six months, said Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol.

Of note: Navalny's foundation was deemed a "foreign agent" by the Russian government in October, making it susceptible to checks like these, according to BBC.

Go deeper: 20 Years of Putin: The pinnacle of power and the fear of losing it

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President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

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Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

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Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

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