Russian authorities put widow of Russian opposition leader Navalny on list of ‘extremists’


MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities on Thursday arrested the widow of Russia’s late opposition leader. Alexei Navalny on a list of “terrorists and extremists”, which would create a comprehensive Kremlin repression about the opposition.

Earlier this week, a Moscow court ordered the arrest of Julia Navalnayawho lives abroad, on charges of alleged involvement with an extremist group. The ruling means Navalnaya would be arrested if and when she returns to Russia.

On Thursday, Russia’s Federal Financial Control Service added Navalnaya to its list of “terrorists and extremists,” a designation that carries restrictions on banking transactions and has been widely used against opposition figures.

Navalny, the Russian president’s fiercest political enemy Vladimir Putindied in February in an Arctic penal colony while serving a prison sentence 19 years in prison for extremism that he had condemned as politically motivated. Authorities said he fell ill after a walk, but have not provided further details about Navalny’s death.

Navalny was jailed after returning to Moscow from Germany in January 2021, where he was recovering from a 2020 nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.

Navalnaya has accused Putin of her husband’s death and has vowed to continue his activities. Russian officials have vehemently denied involvement in Navalny’s poisoning and death.

Navalnaya spokesperson Kira Yarmysh commented on the authorities’ latest move against her on the social platform X, saying: “If they are so picky, it means that Yulia is doing everything right.”

Russian authorities have not specified the charges against Navalnaya, which appear to be linked to authorities labeling Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and its regional offices as extremist.

A 2021 court ruling that banned Navalny’s foundation and its regional offices has forced many of his closest associates and team members to leave Russia, while those who stayed have faced prosecution. Several lawyers who defended Navalny and journalists who covered his activities have also been jailed on similar charges.

The Kremlin’s crackdown on opposition activists, independent journalists and government critics has intensified since Russia troops to Ukraine in February 2022. Hundreds of people have been criminally prosecuted for protests and statements condemning the war in Ukraine, and thousands have been fined or briefly imprisoned.

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