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Russia Bans 'Movement' Supporting Jailed Ex-Khabarovsk Governor

A rally in support of ex-Khabarovsk region Governor Sergei Furgal in 2020. Incredible Terence (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A court in Far East Russia’s Khabarovsk region on Wednesday labeled the so-called “Ya/My Furgal movement” as “extremist” after prosecutors earlier this month requested the designation. 

The phrase “Ya/My Furgal” (Russian for “I’m/We’re Furgal”) has been used by supporters of jailed ex-Khabarovsk region Governor Sergei Furgal since his detention in 2020, which sparked some of Russia's longest-running protests.

Last February, Furgal, who governed the Far East region between 2018 and 2020, was found guilty of double homicide and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

In a statement released Wednesday by the Khabarovsk region's prosecutor's office, the “Ya/My Furgal movement” was described as engaging in  “extremist” activities “under the guise of protecting and supporting the former governor of the region,” as well as “inciting hatred and animosity toward government institutions.”

Prosecutors had filed a suit in early February asking a local court to ban the “inter-regional public movement Ya/My Furgal” as an “extremist” organization, though it is not clear if an organization by that name exists.

Engagement with “extremist” entities carries the risk of criminal prosecution under Russian law.

The murder case against Furgal was widely seen as politically motivated after Furgal, a member of Russia’s far-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), defeated the Kremlin-backed United Russia candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

Following his arrest in 2020, Furgal was removed from office by President Vladimir Putin “due to loss of confidence,” and replaced by Mikhail Degtyarev, a controversial but more Kremlin-friendly member of LDPR. 

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