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Russian lawmakers seek to ban people who worked for ‘extremist organizations’ from running for parliament

A group of Russian lawmakers have submitted a draft law to the State Duma on banning people connected to outlawed “extremist organizations” from running for parliament. 

The proposed ban would apply to anyone involved in the activities of “public or religious associations” that have been outlawed in Russia as extremist or terrorist groups. In particular, this includes anyone who worked for or led these organizations one to three years before a court ruling on banning or dissolving said group.

According to the draft law, the former leaders of outlawed organization will be subjected to a five-year ban on running for parliament; the ban for former employees will last three years.

The deputies also proposed expanding these prohibitions to apply to “other persons” affiliated with such organizations, including those who provided them with “monetary, material, organizational, methodological, consultative, or other assistance” in the year before court’s decision came into force. If the bill passes, these individuals will be banned from running for parliament for a three-year period.

Commenting on the bill on Twitter, Alexey Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, wrote that the proposed legislation threatens anyone who worked for “Team Navalny” or made donations to organizations associated with the opposition politician.

“We have already seen an array of ‘laws against Navalny’ but never THIS, of course. You donated to the FBK over the last year (!) — you can’t [run for] the State Duma. You worked as a coordinator for Navalny’s headquarters in the last three years (!!) — you can’t run for the State Duma.”

On April 16, prosecutors in Moscow filed a lawsuit asking the city to add three organizations affiliated with Alexey Navalny to Russia’s list of illegal extremist groups: the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and his network of regional campaign offices. On April 26, Moscow’s City Court began reviewing the case, which has been classified and hidden from the public because the trial evidence apparently includes state secrets.

The FBK was subjected to a number of restrictions on its activities pending a ruling on the claim, preventing the organization from holding rallies and publishing information online, among other things. Moscow prosecutors suspended the operations of Navalny’s political network completely ahead of the trial. The opposition movement officially disbanded on April 29.

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