The Moscow city court will begin today to assess whether opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s organizations are on the same group as the terrorist organizations IS and Al Qaeda.
If they are branded as extremists, their members and supporters will not be able to stand in the election.
The court will use for the first time a law recently passed by the Russian parliament.
Fine and imprisonment for ten years
Paying for Navalny’s organizations, sharing information about them on social media, and using their logos in any way may be prohibited. Violators of the new rules could face fines and up to ten years in prison.
Russian officials say protests in Moscow and other Russian cities earlier this year were illegal. Large police forces were deployed and about 11,000 people were arrested.
It now appears that the protests on April 21 may be the last major protest of the opposition.
It is also difficult to see how the task of exposing corruption at the top of Russian society can continue if prosecuted in court.
The end of Navalny’s protest?
Russian political commentators expect the court to back the authorities, demanding that opposition organizations be branded as extremists.
If that happens, there will be differing views on whether the opposition will play a role in Russia in the future.
– No, this is not a decision. Researcher Alexander Kinev told NRK that this was part of the war.
He hopes those who worked for Navalnik in the regions will disappear. According to Kinev, regional leaders have become significant politicians who will continue to shape politics.
The commentator insists that what is happening now is a severe blow to the opposition. But he thinks more work will take place on the Internet.
– Companies were destroyed
Other commentators are very skeptical of the opposition.
– I believe that Navalny’s organizations, including the Anti-Corruption Fund, cease to exist in the legal sense. The companies are completely destroyed, they are destroyed, says researcher Georgiz Jodorov NRK.
He points out that all support for these organizations is prohibited and punishable.
Fyodorov believes that the reaction of Western nations to what is happening now may be significant.
But without strong political action against the Russian authorities, he believes many supportive statements will come to Navalny.
Fyodorov believes it is especially dangerous when young people are not legally represented in parliament or in other organizations.
– In my opinion, the authorities go a long way when it comes to tightening everyone up, the commentator insists.
The summit can be a difficult topic
President Vladimir Putin will meet with his US envoy Joe Biden in Geneva on Wednesday next week.
If the court in Moscow had earlier branded Navalny’s organizations as extremists, the case would become a central and difficult topic at the summit..
Biden has said in advance that he will discuss human rights in Russia with Putin.
This is a topic that the Russian president does not want to talk about. He said in advance that he was prepared to strike again by criticizing the lack of American rights in the region.
Russian commentators say a lot of talk about human rights could destroy the mood of the summit.
Still a dictatorial state
When Alexei Navalny returned to Russia earlier this year, After being treated for poisoning at a hospital in Berlin, He was arrested at the Moscow airport.
A few days later, his staff released a picture in which President Vladimir Putin was accused of being the real owner of a large castle and property in the Black Sea.
In a short span of time, the film has been viewed by over 100 million people.
“Navalny has caused a great deal of damage to Putin’s reputation by exposing his corruption,” said researcher Gineve.
His colleague believes the president still rules society with a firm hand.
– Researcher Fyodorov points out that Putin has control over the security forces, the administration and the political parties.
He believes the entire system of government is very efficiently organized so that the president can stay in power for a very long time.
The commentator believes that many Russians have a problem complaining to the authorities when they are at home in the kitchen. But when election day comes, many are touring instead of voting against the ruling United Russia party.
Support for the party now stands at less than 30 percent in independent polls.
But President Putin’s support is still more than 60 percent, the highest in the international context.