Since the invasion of Ukraine, nearly all of the Kremlin’s critics have been jailed or gone into exile.
A Russian court has handed a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence to an ally of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.
Ksenia Fadeyeva, a lawyer and lawmaker in the Siberian city of Tomsk, was sent to prison for running an “extremist organisation”, her legal team said. She is the latest Russian opposition figure to be detained during the war in Ukraine.
“The ‘judge’ Khudyakov has ordered a nine-year sentence against Ksenia Fadeyeva,” her supporters said on the social media site Telegram, adding that the sentence will be appealed.
Russian authorities designated Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation “extremist” in 2021, effectively banning it and exposing its members to the risk of prosecution. Several have been hit with harsh penalties.
Fadeyeva headed a local chapter of the organisation. In 2020, she was elected to the Tomsk municipal council in what was seen as a notable victory for opponents of President Vladimir Putin’s government, which has largely sought to bar challengers from elections.
However, with the outlawing of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, she was banned from using the internet in December 2021 and has been under house arrest since October.
The Kremlin has clamped down on the opposition since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the majority of the Kremlin’s leading critics are now in exile or behind bars.
Several regional heads of the Anti-Corruption Foundation have been jailed, including Lilia Chanysheva, Navalny’s ally in the central Bashkortostan Republic, who was handed seven and a half years in prison this summer.
Navalny has been behind bars since January 2021 when he returned to Moscow after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning, which he blamed on the Kremlin.
This month, his supporters reported they had lost contact with him. On Monday, it emerged that he had been moved to a remote Arctic prison.
Before his arrest, Navalny had campaigned against corruption and organised major anti-Kremlin protests. He has since received three prison terms.
In September, a court extended his sentence to 19 years on extremism charges and ruled that he be moved to a more secure, harsher prison.
He has rejected all charges against him as politically motivated.
Last week, former television journalist Yekaterina Duntsova, who had put her name forward as an independent candidate in Russia’s presidential election in March, was barred from running.
The Central Electoral Commission rejected Duntsova’s application, filed on December 20, citing “mistakes in documents”. She had planned to run on a platform of ending the war in Ukraine and freeing political prisoners.