Image by Evgeny Feldman
Kremlin opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been prevented from running in the 2018 Russian president election because his suspended sentence was extended for one year. Navalny supporters also complained of harrassment from government officials across the country.
Navalny caused massive protests in Russia ealier in the year due to the release of a video prepared by his organization against alleged corruption by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Member of the Kremlin critic’s organization complained of beatings and harrassment in different Russian cities over the weekend as the pressure on candidates due to the upcoming election grows. Volunteers in the Kostrama region complained of injuries from plain-clothed officers, reported The Moscow Times. The video is below.
Seven Navalny volunteers were detained in the Murmansk region over the weekend as well handing out flyers.
In addition to the alleged harrassment, Navalny suffered a legal blow against any presidential aspirations as his five year suspended sentence was extended by one year, per a request from the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), ruled a Moscow court.
“There is no objective reason why my sentence should be extended. I am a law-abiding citizen,” said. “However, extending my sentence, prevents me from running [for the presidency],” declared Navalny in a statement, reported Interfax.
After a blinding chemical attack which caused him to go abroad for medical treatment, Navalny reacted to questions whether he would be killed, as Boris Nemtsov and others were believed murdered for their political activities. During an interview with CBS, Navalny said the following, “This attacker… was coordinated, and hired by government and administration of Putin. And we have a lot of evidence to that…Well, like, 50 percent I would be killed, or I would not be killed.”
Even though the Kremlin has clamped down on the political opposition and began to tighten rules of the internet and privacy, it seems Navalny remains a threat and the government is taking no chances regarding his ability to compete for higher office. The recent demonstrations surprised ruling officials and the Kremlin wants no surprises next year.