Russia jails Navalny campaigner Lilia Chanysheva for ‘extremism’

The former campaign chief in Ufa sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for ‘creating an extremist organisation’.

Lilia Chanysheva, ally of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny and a former regional coordinator of Navalny's political group in the city of Ufa in the southern Urals, charged with creating an extremist organisation, looks out from inside a defendants' cage during her verdict hearing at the Kirovsky district court of Ufa
Lilia Chanysheva was convicted for creating 'an extremist organisation' [Kirovsky District Court of Ufa via AFP]

A former campaign leader for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been sentenced to seven years and six months in prison for “creating an extremist organisation”.

Lilia Chanysheva, the 41-year-old former campaign chief for Navalny in the Urals city of Ufa, said the charges against her were “politically motivated”.

On Wednesday, she thanked her supporters for standing by her after Kirov District Court’s final verdict, according to a Moscow Times report.

Prosecutors had requested a 12-year prison sentence for Chanysheva.

Navalny’s aide Lyubov Sobol called Wednesday’s verdict political, saying President Vladimir Putin had “put one more hostage in a penal colony”.

Alexey Navalny
A graffiti depicting Navalny in Saint Petersburg reads ‘The hero of the new age’ [File: Anton Vaganov/Reuters]

Navalny himself, is already serving sentences totalling eleven years and a half in a penal colony on fraud and other charges.

In April, Russian investigators also opened “terrorism charges” against him which could extend his prison sentence to 30 years. But Navalny slammed these charges as “absurd” and an attempt to further silence him.

The former lawyer, who rose to prominence more than 10 years ago by alleging large-scale corruption in his country, earned admiration from Russia’s opposition when he returned to the country in 2021 from Germany, where he had been treated for what tests showed was an attempt to poison him with a nerve agent in Siberia.

Human rights groups and Western governments view Navalny as a political prisoner.

But the Kremlin has denied trying to kill him and often declines to comment on the imprisonment of Navalny and his supporters.

Source: News Agencies