Law enforcement raid Oleg Stepanov’s campaign office as part of Navalny investigation
On July 1, law enforcement officers raided the campaign office of Oleg Stepanov, Alexey Navalny’s former coordinator in Moscow, who’s trying to run in the upcoming State Duma elections.
On Telegram, Stepanov’s campaign team wrote that the search is in connection with the criminal case initiated against Navalny and his top aides on charges of creating a nonprofit organization that infringes on the rights of Russian citizens.
Oleg Stepanov has been under house arrest since late January in connection with the “Sanitary Case.”
On June 23, election officials denied Stepanov permission to open a campaign bank account needed to collect nomination signatures for his State Duma run. The election commission cited recently adopted legislation banning anyone linked to an illegal extremist group from running in elections in Russia. However, the court ruling outlawing Navalny’s political movement as “extremist” has yet to enter into force.
“This is pressure on our campaign — Oleg is under house arrest, we illegally aren’t allowed to open a [campaign] bank account, and now there are also searches with the obvious confiscation of employees’ personal equipment.”
If convicted of creating a nonprofit organization that infringes on the liberties and rights of Russian citizens, Alexey Navalny and the other suspects in the case — his chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, and the director of his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), Ivan Zhdanov — will be banned from seeking election in Russia for a period of five years.