By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The decision to label Navalny’s movement as “extremist” signals that Russian domestic affairs are not up for discussion during the June 16 meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Under Wednesday’s court, ruling activists will risk prison sentences if they continue their work. Anyone who publicly supports Navalny’s political network can now be barred from running for public office.
Commentators said the decision was almost certainly made with the blessing from Putin, whose supporters may face a tough challenge in the September elections.
Opinion polls showed the ruling party losing support, and some of Navalny’s supporters wanted to run in the elections.
Writing on social media, Navalny promised he would “not retreat” despite the setback. However, he acknowledged that his allies would now have to change how they work.
The ruling underscored the stakes of the summit in Geneva for Biden, who has pledged to push back against perceived violations of international norms by Putin.
But the Russian president has said that, while he is prepared to discuss cyberspace and geopolitics with Biden, he will not engage in talks over how he runs his country.
“Views on our political system can differ,” Putin reportedly said last week. “Just give us the right, please, to determine how to organize this part of our life.”
Navalny is in prison for violating the terms of parole in an embezzlement case – charges he claims are politically motivated.
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