Wednesday January 26, 2022

Russia brands key Navalny aides ‘terrorists’

January 15, 2022

MOSCOW: Russia has branded two key allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny "terrorists and extremists", a government database showed on Friday, days ahead of the anniversary of the opposition leader’s arrest.

The move by Russian authorities to arrest Navalny on his return to Russia from Germany last year ushered in a months-long crackdown that has seen most senior opposition figures either exiled or jailed. Leonid Volkov, 41, and 33-year-old Ivan Zhdanov, who both left Russia as authorities were clamping down on the opposition and dissenting voices, were seen Friday in the database compiled by the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring.

The decision puts them on a par with right-wing nationalist groups and foreign terrorist organisations, including the Taliban and the so-called Islamic State group. Zhdanov led Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which produced hugely popular video probes accusing the authorities of systemic graft, while Volkov headed Navalny’s network of regional offices.