Journalist jailed in Rostov-on-Don for posting about ‘Smart Vote’ on Facebook

On Friday, September 10, a court in Rostov-on-Don found local journalist Igor Khoroshilov guilty of distributing extremist materials and sentenced him to 10 days in jail.

Khoroshilov, the editor-in-chief of the local publication Golos (Voice), was detained on misdemeanor charges earlier in the day on Friday. Public figure Leonid Sankin told OVD-Info that the journalist was arrested for posting about Team Navalny’s “Smart Vote” initiative on Facebook. 

The Moscow City Court outlawed Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and national network of campaign offices as “extremist organizations” on July 9. Russia’s federal censor then proceeded to block more than 40 websites linked to the opposition politician. 

On September 2, a court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced local activist Bella Nasibyan to five days in jail for posting a photo of a “Smart Vote” poster on Instagram. The next day, the Rostov Regional Court overturned the jail sentence and replaced it with a fine, citing the fact that Nasibyan is the mother of a three-year-old child. (Russian law prohibits jailing the mothers of underage children on misdemeanor charges).

Russian authorities have yet to designate the “Smart Vote” brand as “extremist.” However, in early September, a Russian court banned Yandex and Google from showing search results for the words “umnoe golosovanie” (Smart Vote). This came in connection with a lawsuit filed by a wool company that won a Russian patent to the “Smart Vote” brand. 

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