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Russia adds Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya to “terrorists and extremists” blacklist

Russia's financial monitoring agency, Rosfinmonitoring, added Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, to its list of “terrorists and extremists” earlier today.

The designation, which places severe restrictions on bank transactions, is widely used against the Russian opposition. Banks are required to freeze the funds of individuals on the list and suspend their services.

Two days earlier, a Moscow court issued an arrest warrant for Navalnaya on accusations of alleged involvement in an extremist organization. The ruling means that Navalnaya would face arrest if and when she returns to Russia. (She currently lives abroad).

These actions followed soon after Navalnaya was elected head of the Human Rights Foundation, a New York based nonprofit that works to promote and protect human rights globally. Navalnaya succeeded chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov in the post.

Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin’s most prominent political opponent, died in February at an Arctic penal colony while serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges that he denounced as politically motivated.

Prior to being arrested in January 2021, Navalny exposed official corruption and led major anti-Kremlin protests across Russia. After recovering from nerve agent poisoning in Germany — the consequence of an assassination attempt executed by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) — Navalny returned to Moscow, where he was promptly taken into custody by police officers at passport control at Sheremetyevo Airport.

A joint investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider and CNN, with contributions from Der Spiegel, published in December 2020, revealed the names and ranks of the FSB officers responsible for poisoning Alexei Navalny with Novichok nerve agent.

The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug reported Navalny’s death on February 16 of this year. Russian authorities claimed that Navalny fell ill after a walk, but have provided no further details regarding the jailed opposition figure’s death. His family and associates are certain that he was murdered.

The day after her husband’s death, Yulia Navalnaya released an address in which she held Vladimir Putin for the development and vowed to continue Alexey’s cause.

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

In a recent example, Reuters news producer Konstantin Gabov was detained in late April on allegations of involvement in an “extremist community” in connection with his apparent work producing videos for the Navalny Live YouTube channel.

SotaVision journalist Antonina Favorskaya, who covered Alexei Navalny’s trials and notably recorded the last video of Navalny at a court hearing he “attended” via video link from the IK-3 prison in Kharp, was arrested in late March on similar charges. She was also accused of “participation in an extremist community” for her alleged involvement in Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF).

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