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Litigating Against Organizations: How the Kremlin Halts Navalny’s Effect

Status: 04/09/2021 9:05 pm

Navalny Regional Offices are no longer operating. Other affiliated organizations were also marginalized. The Kremlin appears to have found a way to limit Navalny’s influence.

Written by Christine Auerbach, ARD Studio Moscow,
Currently Munich

Leonid Volkov, Head of Alexei Navalny Regional Offices, started his YouTube video with emotional words:

In short, Navalny has no offices anymore. And for me, more than anyone else, it’s a punch in my stomach, maybe even a stab in the heart.

Then he explains that the offices will stop working. This strikes Nawalni’s organization to the core, because offices are like its backbone. Similar to a party structure, they are spread across Russia and have tried to help shape politics locally.

Through the concept of “smart voting”, where voters give their votes to the candidate who has the most chance against the Kremlin candidate, Nawalni’s men have reached some city parliaments.

Close Navalny Volkov assumes prison sentences against opposition employees.

Photo: AFP

Work ended due to litigation

Volkov says that the ongoing legal process, at the end of which Nawalny’s organization can be classified as extremist, is putting an end to the work now, Volkov says: “Maintaining our regional network in the current situation is impossible. It will be accused of extremism, employees, partners and aides will be imprisoned.”

In this case, any donation to the organization and any publication of its information on the Internet will be punished.

Even before the verdict was issued in the trial of extremism, the Public Prosecution Office and the organized courts were prevented from continuing their work. In addition to the regional offices, this also applies to Navalny’s “Anti-Corruption Fund”, which regularly exposes corruption in the Russian state apparatus in YouTube videos.

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If the extremism trial is against Navalny’s organizational structure, there are other lawsuits directly against him and his management team: The fine against Navalny of roughly 9,500 euros – twice the average annual salary in Russia – has just been confirmed on appeal for insulting veterans.

“The naked thieving king wants to continue ruling.”

In these proceedings, Navalny was seen publicly for the first time since his arrest, via a video link in court. He was shaved and bald, emaciated with thick circles under his eyes.

As usual, he used his closing remarks to obtain a sharp political statement: He sits in a penal camp 200 kilometers from Moscow, and there is no road there without potholes. And also:

This is the 21st century in a country rich in oil and gas that wants to be a world leader. The naked thieving king wants to continue ruling until the end. He does not care at all about the country, but he clings to it. If he stayed in power longer, a lost decade would be followed by a decade of persecution.

Nawalni’s team also announced on its website that another case had been opened against him and his two well-known deputies on charges of founding a non-governmental organization that violated the rights of citizens. If convicted of this, not all of them should be allowed to run for twelve years in the worst-case scenario.

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What the staff arrests and the large police presence at demonstrations have failed to achieve so far, the Kremlin now appears to be able to achieve through court rulings: suspend Navalny’s work and make it impossible for them to participate in elections, for example in the parliamentary elections in the fall.

Hannibal Mcgee
Hannibal Mcgee
"Food trailblazer. Coffee geek. Friendly alcohol enthusiast. Hardcore reader. Proud troublemaker. Pop culture advocate."

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