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Kommersant: More than a third of Navalny’s former campaign office coordinators have left Russia
Of the 38 coordinators who led Alexey Navalny’s regional campaign offices, 14 have left Russia, according to the business newspaper Kommersant. The whereabouts of three more are currently unknown.
Only nine former campaign office heads, including two municipal deputies, are still involved in politics. Seven of them have launched their own projects. Speaking to Kommersant, two of them didn’t rule out the possibility of emigrating abroad.
Some former Team Navalny coordinators would have difficulty leaving the country due the fact that they’re facing administrative and criminal cases, the bulk of which were opened after the protests opposing Navalny’s imprisonment in the winter of 2021.
For example, the former head of Navalny’s headquarters in the Kemerovo region, Stanislav Kalinichenko, said that during a raid of his home, police confiscated and then “destroyed” his passport. He has yet to obtain a new one, for fear that he may be arrested.
Currently, eight former Team Navalny activists are considered suspects in criminal cases, while two more are under investigation for potential involvement. Four former campaign office heads have already been convicted of criminal charges: Oleg Stepanov (Moscow), Sergey Bespalov (Irkutsk), Alexey Vorsin (Khabarovsk), and Andrey Borovikov (Arkhangelsk).
Alexey Navalny’s national network of campaign offices disbanded in April 2021, ahead of a court ruling on blacklisting his organizations as “extremist.” At the time, his political network comprised 37 campaign offices and was planning to expand. A Moscow court outlawed Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (the FBK), Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and political network in June 2021.
In September, Russia’s Investigative Committee retroactively opened a criminal case against Navalny and his close associates for creating and participating in an “extremist group.” This case was later combined with other criminal cases launched against Navalny for alleged fraud and for allegedly creating a nonprofit organization that “infringes on the liberties and rights of Russian citizens.”
According to Kommersant, 10 investigators in seven different cities are working on the case. In early November, authorities in Ufa arrested the former head of Navalny’s local campaign office, Liliya Chanysheva, as their first suspect. If convicted, she will face up to ten years in prison.
Following Chanysheva’s arrest, the former head of Navalny’s St. Petersburg headquarters, Irina Fatyanova, fled Russia fearing persecution. The ex-head of Navalny’s Novosibirsk office, city councilman Sergey Boyko, also announced that he had traveled abroad with his family and wouldn’t be returning to Russia.
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