Russian authorities added Alexei Navalny’s two most senior aides to a list of “terrorists and extremists” on Friday in the latest move against the Putin critic and his supporters by the Kremlin.
Longtime Navalny allies Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov, were included in the list, maintained by Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service, indicating authorities believe they are involved in activities that support terrorist or extremist organizations.
Zhdanov is the former head of Navalny’s now-disbanded Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), while Volkov headed Navalny’s regional campaign offices and oversaw his campaign for Moscow Mayor in 2013 and 2018 presidential bid.
In an Instagram post following the announcement, Zhdanov jokingly quipped “Congratulations, bro” at Volkov.
The two opposition activists, who have both lived outside Russia since 2019, have ran Navalny’s operations from exile since the Kremlin critic’s January 2021 imprisonment upon his return from poisoning recovery abroad.
Their inclusion on the register effectively locks them out of the Russian banking system, since the country’s financial institutions are prohibited from providing services to individuals and organizations on the list.
Zhdanov tweeted that all his Russian banking smartphone apps had been “promptly” blocked. He further predicted that Russian authorities will begin labeling other Kremlin opponents “extremists” and “terrorists,” drawing parallels with last year’s near-weekly additions to the Justice Ministry’s registry of “foreign agents.”
“We’re trailblazers in this nonsense.”
Russian courts last year banned Navalny’s regional network, as well as FBK, as “extremist.” Dozens of key Navalny aides and former regional coordinators have since faced criminal charges, and most of Navalny’s key aides fled Russia and now live in exile.