On January 25, 2022, outspoken Kremlin critic and opposition party leader, Alexei Navalny, was added to a list of terrorists and extremists by the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of Russia.
Navalny now joins many of his colleagues on the list. Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov was also added to the list of terrorists.
Volkov went to Facebook following this action by the Russian government saying that he is “Proud to work in our wonderful team of extremists and terrorists. Devaluing the meaning of words or twisting the meaning of words inside out, the Kremlin digs a deeper hole for himself: doing everything to make sure those who still believe in Putin stop believing him.”
Navalny has had a troubling experience in Russian politics, to say the least. Navalny ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013 but lost to a Putin appointee. Despite this, he ran for president against Putin in 2018 but was barred from running because of embezzlement convictions from 2013 and 2014. This ban disallows him from running until after 2028. Many, including Navalny, suspect that these convictions were politically motivated and enacted to prevent the political dissident from obtaining power or additional influence in the country.
In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned while in Russia and was evacuated to Berlin to receive medical care. Doctors discovered an undocumented poison from the Novichok group in his blood, skin, and urine samples, as well as in the bottle he was drinking from. This is not the only attempt of physical harm against Navalny, and he maintains that the Kremlin is guilty of ordering these attacks.
Upon returning to Russia in January 2021, Navalny was arrested by FSB agents for violating the terms of his parole that stemmed from his conviction in 2014.
Currently, Navalny is imprisoned by Russian authorities and is serving a prison sentence at the corrective labor colony in Vladimir Oblast.
Whether Navalny is actually guilty of embezzlement is unclear. It is clear, however, that Putin and the Russian government have correctly identified Alexei Navalny and his allies as a genuine threat to their dominance in Russian politics.