The Russian judiciary has finally banned several organizations of imprisoned Kremlin rival Alexei Navalny (45).
On Wednesday evening, a Moscow court classified the associations, including the anti-corruption institution FBK, as extremist.
In connection with a new law, Nawalny supporters are no longer allowed to run for elections in Russia. Certain candidates may be excluded from all elections for their work with “extremist and terrorist” organizations.
The decision was strongly condemned by the United States on Wednesday evening (local time), and State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “With this action, Russia has effectively criminalized one of the few remaining independent political movements in the country.”
Washington called on Russia to end the classification of non-violent organizations as extremist, stop repressing Navalny and his supporters, and fulfill international obligations to respect and guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The ‘smart voting’ strategy will continue
The strategy of “smart voting” will continue to be promoted with a view to holding parliamentary elections in the fall, FBK director Ivan Zhdanov told independent internet station Doschdh before the court’s decision.
In “smart voting”, citizens are required to vote for any candidate – except for the candidate of the Kremlin party.
Navalny, a Kremlin critic, has been held for months in the IK-2 concentration camp east of Moscow. The Russian judiciary accused him of violating reporting requirements in a previous criminal case while he was recovering from a poison attack in Germany. The ruling was criticized internationally for being politically motivated.
Six weeks ago, a temporary work ban was imposed on Nawalni’s regional staff and his foundation’s anti-corruption activities were severely restricted. A few days later, the financial regulator put the regional staff on the list of extremist and terrorist organizations.