Ivan Zhdanov and Leonid Volkov, two of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s closest associates, have been placed on the country’s list of “extremists and terrorists.”
The entries for the two appeared in the register of Rosfinmonitoring on January 14, putting them on the same level as right-wing nationalist groups and foreign terrorist organizations such as the Taliban and the Islamic State extremist group.
According to the Russian law, the bank accounts of individuals added to the list must be frozen immediately.
Both Volkov, the 41-year-old former coordinator of the now-defunct network of Navalny’s teams across Russia, and Zhdanov, the ex-chief of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), left the country last year and currently reside abroad.
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Russia announced last year that it had placed the two activists on an international wanted list.
Zhdanov, 33, told Current Time that the move by Rosfinmonitoring was expected and characterized it as another of the “Russian state’s fascist methods.”
“We will continue our activities. We will not stop them in any way,” he said.
“It is a pleasure to feel that our activities are considered as problematic, a thorn for them…. Repression [in Russia] has became something extremely massive with really serious consequences,” Zhdanov said, adding that the “key problems” faced by Russia today originate from the actions and policies of President Vladimir Putin.
The FBK has relentlessly targeted senior government officials over the past decade with widely watched videos detailing corruption allegations that were distributed via the Navalny LIVE channel.
Navalny’s political network has been instrumental in implementing a “smart voting” strategy — a project designed to promote candidates most likely to defeat Kremlin-linked figures.
Last year, the Moscow City Court declared the FBK and other groups related to Navalny as extremist, preventing people associated with Navalny and his network of regional offices across Russia from seeking public office.
The ruling also carries possible lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with the organizations.
Navalny himself has been in prison since February 2021 after he was arrested the month prior upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been undergoing treatment for a near-fatal poisoning with a Novichok-type nerve agent that he says was ordered by Putin.
The Kremlin has denied any role in Navalny’s poisoning.
Last year, Zhdanov’s father, Yury, was handed a suspended prison sentence last month in a corruption case that critics say is politically motivated.
Earlier this week, he was placed in a detention center for allegedly violating sentence restrictions imposed on him.
Ivan Zhdanov has accused the Kremlin of trying to pressure him by arresting his father.
With reporting by Ekho Moskvy and Interfax