Navalny Says Faces New Charge That Carries 15-Year Sentence


Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny says he has been informed by investigators that he faces new charges for "creating an extremist group" in connection with his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and groups associated with it.

In a series of tweets on May 31 that mocked Russian officials over the litany of cases being brought against him, the Kremlin critic said he was being "formally charged" for the creation of his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which exposed graft among officials, including President Vladimir Putin.

"Maybe Putin doesn't hate me, maybe he secretly adores me. That's why he wants me to be hidden in an underground bunker, guarded by reliable people, just like himself," Navalny said in the series of six tweets.

"How else can I explain the fact that not even eight days have passed since my 9-year high-security sentence came into force, and today the investigator showed up again and formally charged me with a new case."

The FBK and other groups associated with Navalny, as well as his political movement, were declared "extremist" organizations by Russian authorities in June 2021 and disbanded. Several of Navalny's associates have already been charged with the same offense.

"It turns out that I created an extremist group in order to incite hatred towards officials and oligarchs. And when they put me in jail, I dared to be disgruntled about it (silly me) and called for rallies. For that, they're supposed to add up to 15 more years to my sentence," he said.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 upon his arrival to Moscow from Germany, where he was treated for a poison attack with what European labs defined as a Soviet-style nerve agent.

He was then handed a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for violating the terms of an earlier parole because of his convalescence abroad. The original conviction is widely regarded as a trumped-up, politically motivated case.

Last week a court upheld a nine-year prison term for embezzlement and contempt charges that he and his supporters have repeatedly rejected as politically motivated.