Russia adds jailed Kremlin critic Navalny to list of ‘terrorists’

Separately, the federal prison service demanded that Navalny’s brother’s suspended sentence be changed to a jail term.

Alexey Navalny in a cage in a courthouse
Navalny stands in a cage in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow [File: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP]

Russian authorities have added jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny and a handful of his allies to an official list of “terrorists and extremists”.

Also on Tuesday, local news agencies reported that the federal prison service had demanded that Navalny’s brother Oleg be given a jail term in place of a one-year suspended sentence handed to him last year.

Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and the most vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin for the past decade, survived being poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 and was jailed last year on parole violations related to an earlier fraud case he says was trumped up. His political network was banned as “extremist” last year.

The “terrorist” listing by the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring) means Navalny and the members of his team are subject to limits on bank transactions and need to seek approval every time they want to use their accounts.

Oleg Navalny stands in a courthouse cage
Oleg Navalny, Alexei Navalny’s brother in a defendant dock at the Tverskoi district court [File: Press service of Tverskoy District Court of Moscow handout via AFP]

Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov said on Facebook: “I’m proud to work in our fine team of ‘extremists and terrorists’. By devaluing the meaning of words and turning their meaning inside out, the Kremlin is digging a deeper hole for itself. It’s doing all it can to make those who still believe Putin stop believing him.”

Lyubov Sobol, one of the faces of Navalny’s popular YouTube channel, told Ekho Moskvy radio that Putin was declaring anyone he did not like to be “a terrorist”.

Sobol was added to the list on Tuesday, and Volkov earlier this month. Both are among a group of Navalny’s leading allies who have fled Russia to avoid arrest.

Last month, investigators questioned several former regional Navalny coordinators, including Ksenia Fadeyeva, who is also a lawmaker in the Siberian city of Tomsk. She was added to the “terrorists” list on Tuesday.

Navalny’s brother Oleg was given a one-year suspended sentence last August. He was among a group of individuals accused of “inciting people” to break COVID-19 restrictions by attending unauthorised protests in January 2021.

The European Parliament last year awarded Alexey Navalny the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought after he was nominated but passed over for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lyubov Sobol leaves a court building
Lyubov Sobol, a Russian opposition figure and a close Navalny ally, leaves a court after a hearing in Moscow [File: Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies