Russian court to issue ruling on designation of Navalny campaign headquarters as an extremist group

Moscow’s City Court will today rule on whether to designate anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny’s campaign headquarters as an extremist group.

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Photo: Iz.ru

Moscow’s City Court will today rule on whether to designate anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny’s campaign headquarters as an extremist group.

The Russian Monitoring Committee has added Navalny’s network of regional campaign offices to its extremist list and the network now appears on the committee’s searchable database. As such, the government can now sanction the network’s bank accounts. Further, if the court designates Navalny’s political offices as an extremist organization, his workers and supporters may face prison sentences.

As Navalny’s imprisonment provoked widespread anti-regime rallies, the Kremlin’s fears of an impending “color revolution”—a large-scale political demonstration such as Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution—have risen. Navalny has mobilized the population at an inconvenient time for Putin, with Russia’s next parliamentary elections set for September. Moreover, the Kremlin’s current, highly punitive approach to dealing with dissent differs from its response to previous major protests in 2011-2012, when it conceded to, or appeared to meet, some of the demonstrators’ demands. Therefore, it appears that in the medium-term, Putin and his allies will continue seeking to retain power by use of measures including further recourse to authoritarianism, with more individuals subject to political pressure and imprisonment.

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