Two allies of the Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, currently in prison, announced today that they left Russia due to pressure from the Russian authorities, who declared extremists and outlawed the organizations created by this politician.
It is about Irina Fatiánova, head of the office of Navalny in Saint Petersburg, and the lawyer Yevgueni Smirnov, who represented the outlawed Fund to Fight Corruption (FBK) and, more recently, the former journalist and former adviser to the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, Ivan Safronov, accused of high treason.
“I’ll be honest, this is sad and painful. I left everything in Russia, my dog, my family, my closest friends, my corner and my things, many of which are linked to specific people and happy moments, “Fatiánova said on her Facebook account.
The ally of Navalny, which did not reveal in which country it is located, indicated that at the time it was willing to accept fines, arrests, searches and interrogations, and even to face a criminal case, which would mean several years in prison.
However, he pointed out, the recent arrest of the head of Navalny’s office in the city of Ufa, Lilia Chánisheva, the first person indicted on charges of “creating an extremist group”, which could cost him 10 years in prison, made him change his mind and leave Russia.
“It has been one of the most difficult decisions in my life,” he wrote.
For his part, Smirnov went to Georgia, as he commented in an interview with the digital medium The Insider published on Wednesday.
“I do not rule out that I have to stay here, in this country,” he said.
The jurist, who in recent months brought the case of former journalist Safrónov, denounced that he has been “isolated from the outside world for more than two months, with the exception of lawyers.”
Smirnov recalled that the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) has requested the opening of more than ten disciplinary cases against Safrónov’s defenders.
“The FSB is now trying to impose for any reason, even absurd, all kinds of reprisals on Ivan Safrónov’s lawyers,” he said.
The Russian opposition has accused the Kremlin of launching a crackdown campaign that began with the poisoning of Navalny in August 2020 at the hands of the FSB.
The vast majority of Navalny’s collaborators have been imprisoned or are in exile, to which it must be added that none of the radical opposition candidates was able to participate in the legislative elections in September.