News of the Day: 16 January 2021

RFE/RL: The head of the Council of Europe has expressed “great concern” after the Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe was added to the list of “undesirable” organizations in Russia. In a letter dated January 14 and obtained by RFE/RL, Council of Europe Secretary-General Marija Pejcinovic Buric asked Moscow to clarify “the circumstances” that led to the decision, which she called “unacceptable.” “I cannot stress enough how problematic is the notion that an organization such as the Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe, closely linked to our organization and uniting schools of political studies, aiming to organize civic education activities based on the Council of Europe values and principles, would represent a threat” to a Council of Europe member state, reads the letter, addressed to Russian Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko.

RFE/RL: A Russian court has ordered a member of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) accused of inciting extremism on the Internet to be kept in pretrial detention until February 28, according to a top human rights lawyer. Pavel Chikov, head of the legal-aid nongovernmental organization Agora, said on Telegram that the Presnensky District Court issued the ruling against Pavel Zelensky on January 16. The decision comes a day before Navalny is set to fly back to Russia for the first time after spending six months in Germany where he was treated for a near-fatal poisoning, despite the risk of being jailed upon his return. Zelensky, a camera operator for FBK, was detained on January 15 and charged over a tweet he sent last year following the self-immolation of journalist Irina Slavina in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

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