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Extremism lawsuit against Navalny’s network reveals previously unannounced criminal case against him and his top aides

Source: Navalny

Jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny, as well as his top aides Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov, are suspects in a criminal case on the creation of a non-profit organization that infringes on the liberties and rights of Russian citizens. This was revealed in the case materials from the lawsuit on recognizing Navalny’s anti-corruption network and political movement as extremist organizations.

According to documents published on Navalny’s website, the Russian Investigative Committee’s Central Investigation Department launched the case on February 4, under Criminal Code article 239, part 1: Creation of a religious or public association whose activity is fraught with violence against individuals or with the infliction of injury to their health. This is punishable by up to four years in prison.

As noted by Mediazona, people convicted under these felony charges are banned from running for any elective office for a period of five years after their conviction has been expunged or has expired. These changes to the legislation were made in the spring of 2020. 

The launch of the case against Navalny, Volkov, and Zhdanov under Criminal Code article 239 has not been reported previously. 

In February, Alexey Navalny was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for allegedly violating the terms of his probation in the “Yves Rocher” case. In separate case, he fined 850,000 rubles (about $11,500) for insulting WWII veteran. In January, the Russian authorities launched a criminal case against Leonid Volkov on charges of involving minors in illegal protests. 

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