Russia

Russian lawmakers give preliminary approval to bill banning Navalny allies from seeking office

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Russian lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation through the lower chamber of the legislature that would ban members of “extremist” organizations, including allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, from running for office.

The Associated Press reported that the bill now heads to the upper legislature after a fast vote of approval by the State Duma on Tuesday.

The bill is significant because its expected passage comes just a month after Russia’s government ordered Navalny’s organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, to cease activities while a court determines whether it should be classified as an extremist group.

Navalny, meanwhile, has remained jailed since returning to Russia earlier this year. His imprisonment stems from a supposed violation of his probation agreement from a 2014 conviction on embezzlement charges that human rights activists have called politically motivated and baseless.

The probation violation occurred when Navalny fled the country last year after falling ill due to poisoning. He was rushed by his allies to a German hospital, where he recovered for several months from contact with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. 

Navalny and numerous governments around the world, including the U.S., have blamed the Russian government for Navalny’s poisoning, which the Kremlin denies.

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