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Russia Blacklists Opposition Leader Navalny’s Foundation as ‘Foreign Agent’

Russia’s Justice Ministry has on Wednesday blacklisted opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) as a “foreign agent.”

Russia’s 2012 “foreign agent” law requires labeled organizations to report their activities and face financial audits. Activists have denounced the law, saying it seeks to silence groups critical of the Kremlin’s human rights record.

The Justice Ministry added the organization to the "foreign agents" registry because it attempts to influence Russian state bodies and encourages rallies while receiving money from abroad, it told Interfax.

The ministry added that it had discovered more than 140,000 rubles ($2,100) in funding from Spain and the U.S.

The FBK is funded by donations from Russian citizens and receives no foreign funding, director Ivan Zhdanov wrote on his Facebook on Wednesday.

"We demand that the Justice Ministry publicly give an explanation and provide evidence that the FBK has received at least one penny of foreign money," Navalny tweeted.

Navalny’s FBK has roiled Russia’s elite with a series of video investigations accusing individual officials of corruption. The authorities froze bank accounts associated with Navalny in August as part of the money laundering investigation that he says is trumped up.

In his post, Zhdanov called the “foreign agents” listing an attempt to strangle the FBK and prevent it from releasing new investigations into corruption.

Authorities opened a 1 billion ruble ($15.3 million) money laundering case against the FBK in August amid a wave of opposition protests in the capital led by Navalny's allies.

The European Court of Human Rights is processing cases for scores of Russian NGOs that were branded as foreign agents, including the Memorial human rights group, on claims that the law violates citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

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