Russia Sends Navalny Associate to Prison for ‘Extremism’

A court in Siberia on Friday sentenced an ally of the jailed Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny to nine years in a penal colony for running an “extremist organization,” according to her legal team. The sentence signals the Kremlin’s willingness to continue cracking down on members of Mr. Navalny’s political group years after it was banned in Russia.

In 2020, the defendant, Ksenia V. Fadeyeva, won a seat in the municipal parliament in the Siberian city of Tomsk, a position she occupied while she was also the coordinator of Mr. Navalny’s political office in the region.

Mr. Navalny, the only politician who was able to pose a significant challenge to the Kremlin over the past decade by creating a robust political organization with officers across the country, is currently serving a 19-year sentence in a remote penal colony in the Russian Arctic. He emerged there on Monday after being transferred from another prison in central Russia, almost three weeks after his allies said they were alarmed because they had lost contact with him.

In June 2021, the Moscow City Court designated Mr. Navalny’s political organization as “extremist,” effectively banning it. Anticipating the decision, all of its offices across the country were disbanded ahead of the ruling. The offices had represented a rare nationwide political organization in Russia whose goal was to remove President Vladimir V. Putin from power.

But the Russian authorities continued the crackdown, and then intensified it after the invasion of Ukraine.

In June, a court in the city of Ufa sentenced Lilia Chanysheva, the former coordinator of Mr. Navalny’s office in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, to seven and a half years in prison on extremism charges. Then in July, Vadim Ostanin, the former coordinator of Mr. Navalny’s office in the Siberian city of Barnaul, was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony, also on charges of extremism. Many others with ties to Mr. Navalny have also received sentences or had to leave Russia.

Speaking after the verdict, Semyon Vodnev, one of Ms. Fadeyeva’s lawyers, said her trial “had nothing to do with justice” and that they would appeal the verdict.

“I believe that the verdict was illegal, baseless, unjust,” he said, according to a video posted by Ms. Fadeyeva’s support group on the messaging app Telegram. “But if I say more, I will probably have to sit next to Ksenia.”



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