Week-ending 3 December 2021
The banning and designation as ‘extremist’ of Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, along with other organisations associated with him, which Amnesty International has described as ‘one of the most serious blows for the rights to freedom of expression and association in Russia’s post-Soviet history,’ is being used to prosecute and intimidate political activists who have worked with him in the past. This week a court in Moscow changed a one-year suspended sentence given to Lyubov Sobol, currently in Estonia, to real time in prison. Sergei Boiko, formerly head of Navalny’s local office in Novosibirsk and currently a member of that city’s council, has fled the country for fear of prosecution. Navalny himself this week paid a fine of 850,000 rubles ($11,500) in a libel case involving a World War II veteran.
RFE/RL, 2 December 2021: A court in Moscow has switched the one-year suspended sentence handed to opposition politician Lyubov Sobol, a close associate of jailed anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny, to actual prison time. […] Media reports have said that Sobol is currently in neighboring Estonia.
RFE/RL, 2 December 2021: In September 2020, Sergei Boiko, then the head of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s local office, unexpectedly won a seat on the Novosibirsk city council. At the time, he told RFE/RL that his association with Navalny had been nothing but a plus for him. […] Now, the 38-year-old Novosibirsk lawmaker is in self-imposed exile in Greece, unwilling to return to Russia for fear that a criminal case is brewing against him. Looking back over the past year, he says he could not have predicted how events in Russia would have played out in such a short time.
RFE/RL, 3 December 2021: Imprisoned Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has paid a fine of 850,000 rubles ($11,500) in a libel case involving a World War II veteran, the press service of the Moscow court that heard the case said on December 2.
Amnesty International, 17 April 2021: ‘Russia: Proposed ban of Aleksei Navalny’s organisations a chilling attempt to fully shut down dissent’
In other news:
Human Rights in Ukraine, 30 November 2021: Russia’s attempt to ban the Memorial Human Rights Centre is based on an ‘opinion’ by two individuals without any expert knowledge and with either no academic publications at all, or just three, and none in the relevant field. Despite lack of qualification, clear evidence of plagiarism and much more, judge Mikhail Yurievich Kazakov from the Moscow City Court has refused to summon Natalia Kryukova and Alexander Tarasov to answer questions from Memorial’s lawyers. The second preliminary hearing was heard on 29 November, with Kazakov deciding that there should be at least one more preliminary hearing, on 16 December, before substantive examination of the application lodged in early November 2021 by the Moscow prosecutor to have the Memorial Human Rights Centre dissolved.