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German Freedom of Expression Prize Goes to Navalny

Leonid Volkov, an associate of Navalny, accepts the M100 Media Award. Jörg Carstensen / dpa / picture-alliance / TASS

A German prize for democracy and freedom of expression was on Wednesday awarded to imprisoned Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny and his FBK anti-corruption foundation.

"Of course, we'll keep going," Navalny's close ally Leonid Volkov, who lives in exile, said as he accepted the M100 Media Award in Potsdam, just outside Berlin.

Despite repression by the Kremlin, "we have proved that corruption is a human rights problem," Volkov added.

Navalny's FBK is in practice largely forbidden by court orders from any activity, including publishing content online, organizing demonstrations, or standing in elections.

Since late September, Navalny — already jailed over fraud charges he says are politically motivated — has also been targeted in a probe for "creating and leading an extremist organization."

The M100 Media Award has since 2005 been awarded by a jury of journalists from around the world.

It recognizes people or organizations fighting for freedom of expression and of the press.

Navalny was treated in Germany after a summer 2020 poisoning blamed by the West on Russia's security services, a major factor in deteriorating relations between Berlin and Moscow.

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