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Local official in Krasnodar is charged with breaking the law because he shared a picture created by Mikhail Khodorkovsky's news outlet

State prosecutors in the Krasnodar region have opened an administrative case against a district council member in Yeysk over an image he shared on Facebook. Alexander Korovainy is accused of “carrying out the activities of an outlawed undesirable organization” because he reposted an image created by the website MBKh Media, a news project launched by former oil tycoon, now self-styled dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

According to the website Golos Kubani, Korovainy shared an image based on the “10-Year Challenge” (a fad that recently swept the Internet, where individuals shared photos of themselves in 2009 and 2019, typically to showcase how well or poorly they've endured the last decade). MBKh Media’s spin on the meme highlights how Russia’s currency has depreciated and consumer goods have become more expensive.

Korovainy maintains that the image he posted was created by MBKh Media, not Open Russia. (There’s an ongoing debate about whether officials have banned the Britain-based “Open Russia Civic Movement” or the Russia-based movement by the same name. Khodorkovsky founded both organizations.) Korovainy also points out that Open Russia’s logo appears nowhere in the picture he shared. He insists that MBKh Media has no relationship to Open Russia, but prosecutors say the two entities are linked because “MBKh” is short for Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky.

There are two ongoing felony investigations launched earlier this year against Open Russia staff. Rostov activist Anastasia Shevchenko and Maxim Vernikov, Open Russia’s former coordinator in Yekaterinburg, are charged with working directly for an undesirable organization.