Former Navalny Group Photographer May Face Up To Decade In Prison

Since Aleksei Navalny returned from Germany a year ago, thousands of protesters have been detained for demonstrating in support of the Kremlin critic, with many jailed.  

MOSCOW — A Russian photographer who used to work for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s group has been charged with inciting hatred and online calls for terrorism over his critical comments of President Vladimir Putin, the government, and law enforcement.

Lawyer Valeria Vetoshkina said on January 31 that her client, Aleksandr Strukov, faced up to 10 years in prison if found guilty on the charges, which the photographer denies.

According to Vetoshkina, the charges against Strukov stem from his comments last year in articles published by the newspaper Znak and published on its Telegram channel.

Strukov was detained on January 26 after police searched his home. Two days later, a court in Moscow sent him to pretrial detention.

On January 25, Russia added Navalny and several of his allies to its list of "terrorists and extremists."

Over the past year since Navalny returned from Germany, where he was recovering from a poison attack that almost killed him, thousands of protesters have been detained for demonstrating in support of the Kremlin critic, with many jailed.

More than half of his political coordinators have left Russia or been arrested for their activism, with some placed on wanted lists as "terrorists" or "extremists."

In June 2021, a Moscow court declared all organizations linked to Navalny "extremist," preventing people associated with Navalny and his network of regional offices across Russia from seeking public office.

The ruling against his organizations also carries possible lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with them.

Navalny himself has been in prison since February 2021 after being speedily tried and handed a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for violating the terms of an earlier parole for a conviction widely regarded as trumped-up and politically motivated.

Navalny has blamed Putin for his poisoning with a Novichok-style chemical substance. The Kremlin has denied any role in Navalny’s poisoning.



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