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Who Has Been Jailed Over Russia’s Pro-Navalny Protests?

Lyubov Sobol was charged with "inciting mass violations of sanitary and epidemiological rules" by calling on people to protest. Dmitry Golubovich / TASS

More than 10,000 people across Russia have been detained in recent rallies demanding the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and criticizing Russia’s ruling elite. 

The mass protests, which were not authorized by the government, saw a widespread crackdown and harsh treatment of protesters by baton-wielding officers that has sparked outcry from the West.  

Nearly 750 people nationwide have received administrative sentences for their involvement in the protests since they began on Jan. 23, independent police monitor OVD-Info reported. Meanwhile, photos from Moscow detention centers showed overcrowded, unsanitary conditions as the number of detainees outpaces available space at jails. 

Several of Navalny’s closest allies were detained, charged or jailed in connection to the rallies, with critics accusing the Kremlin of locking them up to stifle dissent.  

Here’s an overview of the most prominent figures to have been detained or jailed amid the Kremlin's crackdown on the opposition:

Lyubov Sobol 

Sobol, a lawyer for Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, was placed under house arrest from Jan. 29-March 23 for allegedly violating coronavirus-related restrictions by calling for people to join protests.

On Thursday, Sobol was formally charged for inciting mass violations of sanitary and epidemiological rules, her lawyer Vladimir Voronin tweeted

At a recent press conference, Sobol said she has lost count of how many times she’s been detained and that she always has a detention bag ready. 

Alyona Kitayeva

Alyona Kitayeva, a 21-year-old volunteer for Sobol’s campaign, was detained following her participation in Tuesday’s Moscow protest and sentenced to 12 days in jail for obstructing traffic. 

Kitayeva described being tortured by police at Moscow’s Donskoy police station, telling The Insider news website that officers put a plastic bag over her head and beat and interrogated her until she agreed to unlock her phone. Kitayeva said she was also threatened with false accusations of assaulting a police officer.

Maria Alyokhina

Alyokhina, a member of the Pussy Riot activist rock group, was detained for 48 hours on Jan. 28 and placed under house arrest on accusations of violating coronavirus-related restrictions by calling for people to join protests.

“Everything that is happening now — the fact that I am now being judged in an essentially closed court, and the fact that they want to deprive me of the opportunity to speak out publicly — is happening because the Kremlin is scared of Alexei Navalny and his associates, who openly speak out about the billions looted by Putin,” Alyokhina said in an Instagram post.  

Oleg Stepanov

The head of Navalny’s Moscow headquarters, Stepanov was charged with inciting violations of coronavirus restrictions and placed under house arrest until March 23.

According to media reports, Stepanov has said that the "sanitary case" was falsified and initiated "with the sole purpose of hindering the work of the organization."

Anastasia Vasilyeva

In a dramatic arrest that went viral on social media, Vasilyeva, Navalny’s ophthalmologist and the head of the Doctors Alliance union, played Beethoven on her piano as police officers arrived at her home to detain her.  

She is also under house arrest until March 23 and was charged Thursday with violating coronavirus-related restrictions by calling for people to join protests.

Kira Yarmysh

Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokeswoman, was also placed under house arrest until March 23 as part of the same criminal case on inciting violations of coronavirus restrictions. She was formally charged on Feb. 8.

Oleg Navalny

Navalny’s brother Oleg was also charged with violating coronavirus safety rules by encouraging people to attend the Jan. 23 rally in Moscow and is under house arrest until March 23.

He previously spent three and half years in prison as part of the same 2014 fraud case that his brother is now being jailed for after his suspended sentence was converted to a real sentence this week. Navalny and his supporters have said Alexei and Oleg’s conviction in that case was politically motivated. 

Leonid Volkov

Volkov, Navalny's regional network coordinator who currently resides in Lithuania, was put on the wanted list in absentia as part of a criminal case on inciting minors to attend unauthorized protests. Volkov has brushed off the charges as "made up."

Sergei Smirnov

Smirnov, the chief editor of the independent Mediazona news website, was jailed for 25 days Wednesday for retweeting a joke about his resemblance to a rock musician who appeared in a promotional image for the Jan. 23 rally. Prosecutors accused him of “inciting participation in an unauthorized rally” with the retweet.

Lucy Shtein

Shtein, a Pussy Riot member and municipal deputy for Moscow's Basmanny District, was charged Thursday with inciting violations of coronavirus safety rules by calling on people to protest on Jan. 23. She was placed under house arrest on Wednesday.

Roman Bordunov

Bordunov, the social media manager for the Aviasales flight ticket search website, was sentenced to 13 days of administrative arrest on Friday for attending the unauthorized Jan. 31 rally, Mediazona reported.

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