Russia liquidates country's oldest opposition party

The Supreme Court of Russia on May 25 ordered the liquidation of the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS) at the request of the country's justice ministry, according to state news agency TASS. The Ministry of Justice contended that the number of the party's regional offices dropped by seven, from 47 to 40, and law requires parties to have representative offices in half of the regions of the Russian Federation. According to the independent Mediazona, whose reporters were in the courtroom, PARNAS leaders responded that the party still had 44 offices, and was only considered out of compliance with the law because the court counted Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine as Russian administrative regions.

PARNAS, a registered party since 2012, was founded by Boris Nemtsov, who was killed in 2015, and former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov. The party is harshly critical of Putin's regime and aims to "restore democracy and respect for the Russian Constitution." PARNAS is a member of the Alliance of Liberals for Europe, and has joined coalitions with other pro-democratic parties in Russia. Two PARNAS activists, Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin, are in prison for their opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian State Duma made it harder for political parties to be registered in 2007, which led to the liquidation of 16 out of 33 parties.

From Jurist, May 27. Used with permission.

Note: Russia officially has 89 administrative regions (formally "federal subjects" or "federal constituent entities"—oblasts, republics and krais), but six of these (Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson) are illegally annexed Ukrainian territories.

See our last reports on Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory, the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, and the unfolding police state in Russia.

Russia: 100 arrested in Navalny demonstrations

Russian human rights group OVD-Info on June 4 claimed police arrested at least 109 people during demonstrations supporting imprisoned opposition leader, Alexey Navalny. The group stated two journalists are known to be among those detained. The demonstrations in 23 Russian cities was organized by the Anti-Corruption Foundation (AFD) and coincided with Navalny’s birthday.

spokesperson for Navalny tweeted his gratitude. Navalny is currently serving out a nine-year sentence for parole violations, fraud and contempt of court in a Russian prison. He also faces charges of promoting and calling for terrorism, publicly calling for extremism, financing extremist activities and rehabilitating Nazism.

Russian governmental agencies and official media have not yet commented on Sunday’s demonstrations or arrests. (Jurist)

Canada grants honorary citizenship to Russian dissident

The Canadian parliament voted unanimously June 9 to grant honorary Canadian citizenship to Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian political prisoner and Kremlin critic, hoping that this move could increase the chances that he would be released alive. The title has only been granted to foreign nationals seven times before, including champions of human rights and democracy such as South Africa’s Nelson Mandala. (Jurist)

Russia sentences Navalny ally to prison

A Russian court found "Team Navalny" member Vadim Ostanin guilty of "participation in an extremist community" and sentenced him to nine years in prison on July 24. Team Navalny is an activist organization associated with imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny. "Participation in an extremist community" is illegal under Article 282.1, part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code. 

A month before the decision on the Ostanin case, another Navalny associate received seven-and-a-half years of jail time for "creating an extremist organization." At least eight other Navalny associates have been investigated by authorities as well. (Jurist)

Russian left-dissident Boris Kagarlitsky arrested

A Syktyvkar court has arrested sociologist Boris Kagarlitsky on charges that he “justified terrorism” in an online post about the 2022 Crimean Bridge explosion. According to the human rights monitoring project OVD-Info, Kagarlitsky has been sent to a remand prison for two months. (Meduza)

Russia imprisons top cybersecurity executive

The Moscow City Court on July 26 sentenced Ilya Sachkov, a prominent cybersecurity executive, to 14 years on charges of treason, following his conviction under Article 275 of Russia's Criminal Code. Sachkov was arrested in 2021 by the Federal Security Service after he voiced criticism of the Russian government's response to ransomware attacks originating from its territory and subsequently spent two years in pre-trial detention. (Jurist)

UK sanctions judges, prosecutors in Kara-Murza case

The UK Government announced July 31 that it has sanctioned six people involved in Russia’s sentencing of dual British-Russian national Vladimir Kara-Murza after his appeal was rejected. The government sanctioned three judges, two prosecutors and an “expert witness” over what it has called “politically motivated targeting.” Kara-Murza, who is facing 25 years in a penal colony after the rejection of his appeal. (Jurist)

Navalny gets 19 more years on 'extremism' charges

Longtime Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was sentenced to an additional 19 years in prison Aug. 4 on а number of charges related to "extremism," after a closed-door hearing. The sentence prompted condemnation from multiple countries, international organizations and human rights groups. Navalny is currently serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for violating his probation in a controversial fraud case, and he will have to complete a nine-year term stemming from another fraud case before serving this latest sentence. (Jurist)