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Russian investigators open criminal case against Navalny’s associates for ‘financing extremists’

Source: Interfax

Russian investigators have opened yet another criminal case against two of Alexey Navalny’s closest associates. His chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, and the head of his Anti-Corruption Foundation (the FBK), Ivan Zhdanov, are facing charges for raising funds to finance “extremist organizations” — the FBK and “Team Navalny.”

Citing Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko, Interfax reported on August 10 that the case against Volkov and Zhdanov was opened under Criminal Code Article 282.3, section 1 (collection of funds and provision of financial services deliberately intended to finance an extremist organization).

“Volkov and Zhdanov announced the continuation of their illegal activities and organized a fundraiser, urging an indefinite number of people to support ‘Team Navalny’ and fund them through donations,” Petrenko said. 

Following the pro-Navalny protests in January 2021, Russian investigators launched a criminal case against Leonid Volkov for involving minors in unauthorized rallies. Meanwhile, Ivan Zhdanov is facing charges for the malicious non-execution of a court order, in connection with his refusal to delete the FBK’s famous corruption investigation into Dmitry Medvedev, titled “Don’t Call Him Dimon.” In June, Zhdanov, who resides abroad, was added to Russia’s federal wanted list. Volkov and Zhdanov also stand accused of creating an NGO that infringes on the liberties and rights of Russian citizens.

On June 9, the Moscow City Court blacklisted Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and national network of campaign offices as “extremist organizations,” ordering an immediate halt to their activities. The hearing took place behind closed doors, allegedly due to the fact that some of the case materials were classified. On August 4, an appellate court refused to overturn the extremism designation and so it entered into force. Navalny’s associates announced plans to resume fundraising on August 5. 

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