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Russia bans groups linked to Kremlin critic Navalny

A Russian court has banned groups linked to jailed Putin opponent Alexei Navalny after declaring them “extremist”.

Wednesday’s ruling, analysts believe, could increase tensions ahead of  President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, in Geneva, Switzerland,  next week.

Last year, Mr. Navalny survived a Novichok poisoning attack blamed on Russian intelligence. In February, the lawyer-turned-politician was imprisoned for two and a half years for parole violations.

The forty-five-year-old anti-corruption campaigner has for many years been Mr. Putin’s most vocal critic within Russia.

The latest case was brought by Moscow’s top prosecutor, who accused Mr. Navalny and his allies of trying to start a revolution by destabilising Russia’s socio-political fabric.

Mr. Navalny’s lawyers have vowed to appeal Wednesday’s ruling, saying the prosecution’s evidence was fabricated.

The latest court ruling targets Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation as well as his regional campaign HQ, which has helped organise anti-Putin protests across Russia, garnering tens of thousands of supporters.

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