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Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Russian court on Wednesday outlawed organizations founded by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, labeling the groups "extremist," AP reports.

The state of play: Some of Navalny's allies were seeking to run for parliamentary seats in the country's September elections. But the court ruling — effective immediately — prohibits anyone associated with his Foundation for Fighting Corruption, the Fund for Defending Citizens’ Rights, and Navalny's Headquarters from running for public office.

  • Under the "extremist" label, anyone associated with Navalny could face prison sentences of up to 10 years, per the New York Times.
  • During the hearing, prosecutors claimed Navalny's organizations had plans to overthrow the government, allowing them to be labeled as "extremist," AP notes.

The big picture: This is the Russian government’s latest effort to silence opposition groups ahead of the September elections, which are “seen as an important part of Putin’s efforts to cement his rule ahead of the 2024 presidential election,” AP writes.

  • Other opposition groups were labeled as "undesirable." Under Russian law, membership in groups deemed "undesirable" constitutes a criminal offense.

Between the lines: The ruling comes days before President Biden's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Putin has made it clear he is not open to discussing how he governs his country, nor how the state has been handling Navalny's case, the Times reports.

The State Department condemned the court's designation, saying, "Russia has effectively criminalized one of the country’s few remaining independent political movements."

  • "While the scale of today’s action is particularly disturbing, it is indicative of the Russian government’s widening crackdown on political opposition, civil society, and independent media. Mr. Navalny himself remains in poor health, imprisoned on politically fabricated grounds.  We call again for his immediate and unconditional release."
  • "We urge Russia to cease the abuse of 'extremism' designations to target nonviolent organizations, end its repression of Mr. Navalny and his supporters, and honor its international obligations to respect and ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms."
  • "The Russian people, like all people, have the right to speak freely, form peaceful associations to common ends, exercise religious freedom, and have their voices heard through free and fair elections."

Go deeper

Biden blasts Supreme Court's "unprecedented assault" on abortion rights

President Biden in the White House on Sept. 1. Photo: Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

President Biden condemned the Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' ban on most abortions to remain in place as "an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights," pledging to launch a "whole-of-government" effort to protect access to safe and legal abortion in the state.

Why it matters: The ban, which took effect Wednesday, is the most restrictive abortion law to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."