Russian authorities have added imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and some of his top allies to the registry of terrorists and extremists. Almost all of his top allies, including Sobol, have since fled the country.
According to Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which was declared extremist and shut down last year, a dozen Navalny allies were added to the list on Tuesday.
They include anti-corruption investigator Georgy Alburov, lawyer Vyacheslav Gimadi and several former coordinators of Navalny’s regional offices that were also branded extremist last year.
Sobol, 34, was a lawyer for Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation and producer of the opposition politician’s YouTube channel. She has been wanted by Russian police since October. “Participated in elections and was fighting corruption? Extremist,” Sobol tweeted.
Earlier this month, another two key Navalny aides, Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov were added to the list. They mocked the “terrorist” tag on Tuesday.
Volkov, who used to run Navalny’s regional offices, tweeted that he was “proud to work in our team of ‘extremists and terrorists'”. “It’s great that our super team of ‘terrorists’ is being joined by such great people,” Zhdanov, who headed the now-disbanded Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Twitter.
The United States and European Union both condemned the move, which comes amid high tensions over fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. “This latest designation represents a new low in Russia’s continuing crackdown on independent civil society,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO