Moscow’s chief prosecutor froze the political movement of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny on Monday by suspending activities at his offices across the country, while petitioning a court to do the same for the Anti-Corruption Foundation that he founded.
The decision comes against the backdrop of a pending court decision on whether to designate both Navalny’s political and anti-corruption organizations as extremist groups.
Official documents said Moscow’s Chief Prosecutor Popov D.G. had examined materials of an audit in relation to Navalny’s political offices and decided to suspend their activities, as the Moscow City Court considers whether to ban the movement across the country.
Vladimir Voronin, a lawyer representing both Navalny’s political movement and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), confirmed the suspension on Twitter and that prosecutors were seeking to freeze the FBK’s activities as well.
He added: “…the prosecutor’s office cannot do this without a court’s decision. The court will decide on this motion today without calling the parties.”
FBK Director Ivan Zhdanov tweeted: “They are just shouting here: We are afraid of your activities, we are afraid of your rallies, we are afraid of smart voting,” in reference to a strategic voting system spearheaded by Navalny’s movement.
Zhdanov had earlier erroneously tweeted the FBK activities had also been suspended.
Navalny was sent to prison after a Moscow court on February 2 replaced his suspended sentence with jail time due to violations of his probation. He was arrested when he returned to Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from being poisoned.
The suspension of his movement comes after Navalny announced he was ending his weekslong hunger strike Friday, following a warning from doctors close to him that he was close to death.
Navalny had been on hunger strike since March 31, demanding “proper medical care” and to be examined by an independent doctor, something his team claims he was unable to get in the penal colony in Pokrov.
In an Instagram message announcing his decision, Navalny cited two checks by civilian doctors as proof that lobbying from his supporters helped him secure independent medical examination.
The imprisonment of Navalny has prompted large protests in many parts of Russia, and security forces have rounded up thousands of people at recent rallies.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the activities at Navalny’s political offices have been suspended, not the activities of his Anti-Corruption Foundation.