Alexei Navalny; President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent domestic critic is on the news again!
This time, the legal defense team of the jailed Kremlin critic on Wednesday made public for the first time the full text of a Russian court ruling that outlawed Navalny’s political network as an extremist on June 9. The ruling, described by the lawyers as part of an unprecedented crackdown on Navalny’s activities, bans his allies from running in elections and grants authorities the power to jail activists and freeze their bank accounts.
Navalny is serving a 2-1/2 year jail sentence for parole violations.
The 16-page document outlined the court’s reasoning for the ruling, which was handed down behind closed doors.
The court defined the group as “extremist” because its calls for people to protest caused “damage to public order, to public security, to the interests of individuals and companies”.
According to the court, such protests violated the rights and freedoms of citizens in Russia.
The legal team said in a statement that the ruling was short of examples of extremism by Navalny’s organizations. The only examples brought were three specific political protests organized in 2019 and 2021.
The verdict said Navalny’s team aimed to foment social discord and undermine public security and the integrity of the Russian Federation. It aimed, according to the verdict, to instigate a violent upheaval of the constitutional order.
Last week, following his high-profile summit with US President Joe Biden, Putin defended the extremism ruling. He cited what he said was the Navalny group’s sharing of instructions about how to make Molotov cocktails.
That allegation was denied by Navalny’s allies and his legal team noted on Wednesday that there was no mention of Molotov cocktails in the court ruling.
Instead, other pieces of evidence were offered that the legal team questioned in its statement.
“According to the judge, individuals associated with the Anti-Corruption Foundation and Navalny’s headquarters used Nazi paraphernalia and symbols in their activities,” the lawyers wrote. But no actual link between the individuals and Navalny’s organizations was established by the Prosecutor’s Office, the lawyers said.
Meanwhile, the West has criticized the extremism ruling of the Russian court and also demanded that Navalny should be released from jail.