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Russia to Deport Over 100 Foreign Pro-Navalny Protesters

Olga Maltseva / AFP

Russia will deport more than 100 foreign nationals for attending recent rallies in support of jailed and hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, a senior Moscow migration official said Thursday.

Tens of thousands took to the streets across 11 Russian time zones Wednesday to demand Navalny’s release and treatment by his own doctors as he entered his fourth week of hunger strike. Independent monitors reported nearly 2,000 detentions with riot police reportedly using aggressive tactics including tasers.

“The 122 foreign citizens who participated in the unauthorized protests in Moscow will not be allowed entry for 40 years,” Dmitry Sergiyenko, the chief migration officer at the Russian Interior Ministry’s Moscow branch, was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Sergiyenko did not disclose which countries the protesters will be deported back to.

Interfax added that the chief migration officer did not specify whether the deportees took part in Wednesday’s mass rallies or the demonstrations that took place across Russia in January and February. 

Back then, more than 10,000 protesters were rounded up during nationwide rallies calling for Navalny’s release after he was jailed upon returning to Russia following a five-month recovery from nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

Reports last month said that citizens of post-Soviet Belarus, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan had been given deportation orders for attending the January-February protests.

Russia’s Meduza news website said in March it had spoken with foreign protesters who had their residence permits revoked despite living in Russia for about a decade.

In his annual state-of-the-nation speech hours ahead of the rallies, President Vladimir Putin warned foreign and domestic enemies that “organizers of any provocations” will “regret their actions more than they’ve regretted anything in a long time.” 

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