- Title: Russian authorities raid Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's Moscow office
- Date: 26th December 2019
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (DECEMBER 26, 2019) (REUTERS) RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ALEXEI NAVALNY DRINKING COFFEE, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN BACKGROUND COFFEE CUP (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER, ALEXEI NAVALNY, SAYING: "(Law enforcement bodies) just came (to the Anti-corruption foundation (FBK) office) to seize our equipment. It always happens on Thursdays, because my (online video) program, which is watched by lots of people, always goes on air on Thursday. But they have only one task, they try to force us to delete the film 'He Is Not Dimon to You' (video investigation about Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov) and to generally make our work more difficult. It is obvious that the paymasters behind all this are Usmanov, Medvedev and the higher authorities of the Russian Federation." OFFICERS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER, ALEXEI NAVALNY, SAYING: "We can see that all the officers present here are ashamed as they are not only hiding their eyes under the black hats but they also understand that they are working as servants of Usmanov right now. I think they do not like it themselves. However, they obey those criminal orders. The last thing I want to say is that despite all the pressure, the film 'He Is Not Dimon to You' by no means will be deleted." OFFICERS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER, ALEXEI NAVALNY, SAYING: "Of course all these facts are linked together - the criminal charges against FBK, declaring us a 'foreign agent', all those endless raids - (today is) the fourth one I think - detention of our employees, the general harassment of our employees, in particular, the illegal sending of Ruslan Shaveddinov to Novaya Zemlya (at a remote military base). This all is coordinated as parts of one operation, from one center, which is very high. You can see this by the forces involved." MAN SITTING ON FLOOR OFFICERS NAVALNY, PEOPLE STANDING AGAINST WALL / OFFICERS ON BACKGROUND
- Embargoed: 9th January 2020 11:38
- Keywords: Alexei Navalny Russin oppoistion anti-corruption fund police search politics Russia searches
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BBM31HJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Russian authorities raided the Moscow headquarters of opposition politician Alexei Navalny on Thursday (December 26), using power tools to gain entry before dragging Navalny out by force and confiscating technical equipment such as laptops.
Navalny and his allies said the raid on his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was carried out by the Federal Bailiffs Service and was connected to his refusal to delete a video investigation which levelled graft allegations against Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov.
The Federal Bailiffs Service told Reuters it was carrying out investigative activities at Navalny's foundation as part of a criminal investigation. It said it had not detained anyone during the raid.
Usmanov brought and won a defamation lawsuit against Navalny in 2017. That case ended with a court ordering Navalny to delete within 10 days all references to the allegations in his video, which Medvedev and Usmanov said were utterly false.
Navalny said on Thursday he would not delete the offending video, which has been watched over 32 million times on YouTube since it was first posted in March 2017.
CCTV footage of Thursday's raid showed men using power tools to saw through the front door of Navalny's foundation. The men, some of them masked and wearing black uniforms, could then be seen searching the office before one of them covered a CCTV camera up with tape.
The raid occurred a day after Navalny said that the forcible military conscription of one of his allies to a remote air base in the Arctic amounted to kidnapping and illegal imprisonment.
Allies said Navalny, who was barred from running in a presidential election against Vladimir Putin last year, had been due to present his own show, which is critical of the authorities, on his online TV channel later on Thursday.
Navalny's foundation, which specialises in publishing exposes on the alleged corruption of state officials, is the subject of a separate criminal investigation into alleged money laundering.
Investigators opened the money laundering case in August after Navalny called for people to demonstrate in central Moscow over the exclusion of opposition candidates from a local election.
Those protests grew into Moscow's biggest sustained protest movement in years before fizzling out.
The Justice Ministry in October formally labelled Navalny's anti-corruption group a "foreign agent", meaning it can be subjected to spot checks and face bureaucratic scrutiny.
Navalny has called that move and others part of a coordinated and trumped-up campaign to stifle the anti-Kremlin opposition's activities.
(Production: Lev Sergeev, Anastasia Adasheva)
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