Russia braces for fresh protests amid crackdown on Navalny allies
Lithuania refused to arrest Navalny’s ally at Russia’s request
Moscow accuses Leonid Volkov of involving minors in unsanctioned protests
Lithuanian authorities refused to comply with a Moscow court order to arrest Leonid Volkov, an associate of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Russia, through Interpol, charged Volkov with the involvement of minors in unsanctioned protest actions. This potentially threatens Volkov, who now lives in Lithuania, with up to three years’ imprisonment..
“Using international instruments for politically motivated persecution is wrong practice,” Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said, referring to Moscow’s attempt to use Interpol’s network of 194 states to arrest an opposition politician..
Russian opposition leaders expect the Kremlin to intensify repression and prepare for a long standoff with Putin
The warrant issued by Moscow for Volkov’s arrest “raises serious doubts about Russia’s membership in this organization,” Bilotaite added, referring to Interpol..
The Russian court said that the warrant for Volkov’s arrest was issued within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), to which Lithuania was never a member..
Volkov’s arrest warrant was issued after demonstrations broke out across Russia demanding the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been imprisoned since January 17..
Volkov had to flee Russia back in 2019 when authorities opened a criminal case against the Anti-Corruption Foundation, a non-profit organization headed by Navalny. FBK was accused of money laundering. Navalny’s supporters have repeatedly called this criminal investigation politically motivated.
While in Lithuania, Volkov coordinated protests in Russia demanding the release of Navalny, one of which is scheduled for next Sunday..
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