Russia Launches Investigation into Extremism Against Navalny

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Russian authorities are investigating dissident Alexej Navalny on charges of extremism. The trigger is an interview earlier this year in which Navalny suggested that the government should be forcibly overthrown, state media reported Tuesday.

 

The authorities argue that during the April 27 interview with the radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow), Navalny posed a direct threat against the Russian constitutional order, TASS reported. The state news agency referred to an anonymous source of justice.

During the interview, Navalny accused the government of not doing enough to support low-income people, especially those without officially declared salaries.

Navalny said that “if they are to leave sixty million people hungry, such a government must now be completely overthrown, possibly even by violent means,” said a transcript on the broadcaster’s website.

The charge of extremism is punishable by up to five years in prison. Navalny said in a statement on Tuesday that the charges were fabricated to prevent him from returning to Russia.

Navalny, 44, was taken to Berlin from a Russian hospital in August after becoming seriously ill following an election campaign in Siberia. Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden have determined that he has been poisoned with the nerve poison Novichok.

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