Moscow prosecutors have issued a warning on their website urging people not to take part in an “unauthorized mass event” at Vnukovo International Airport on the day opposition figure Alexey Navalny is set to return to Russia from Germany.
This event hasn’t been coordinated with the city of Moscow’s executive authorities in the manner prescribed by the law. [...] Both the organization of an unauthorized public event and participation in it will incur liability under the law of the Russian Federation.
The department also said that on Friday, January 15, “persons calling for participation in a mass event” were warned against violating the law. Who these warnings were issued to was not specified.
On January 13, Alexey Navalny announced that he will be returning to Moscow from Berlin, where he has been for about five months, undergoing treatment and rehabilitation after he was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent in August 2020. According to Navalny, he will be arriving at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport on Pobeda flight from Berlin on Sunday, January 17.
On Facebook, Navalny’s team called on his supporters to meet him at the airport. At the time of writing, two thousand Facebook users have expressed their intentions of attending this event. Navalny’s opponents are also planning to gather at Vnukovo. On January 15, spokespeople for the Moscow airport made clear that they will not be giving journalists permission to cover Navalny’s arrival.
Earlier this week, Russia’s prison authorities announced that they will be “obliged to take all actions to arrest” Navalny upon his return to Russia, pending a court decision on revoking his probation in the Yves Rocher case and replacing it with a prison sentence. Prison officials filed a court complaint against Navalny on January 12, accusing him of failing to fulfil the terms of his probation and evading the oversight of corrective services.
In addition, Russian state investigators have brought felony fraud charges against Navalny as part of a separate case. He was also added to the country’s federal wanted list in connection with Yves Rocher case — a fact he became aware of only after he announced his return to Russia.