Navalny supporters accuse Russian police of visits after leak

Navalny's organisations and websites have been hit with at least one major leak in recent months.

Published: 18th August 2021 03:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2021 03:56 PM   |  A+A-

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (File Photo | AP)


MOSCOW: A rights group and backers of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused Moscow police Wednesday of visiting his rank-and-file supporters at their homes overnight after their personal information was revealed in a leaked database.

Navalny's organisations and websites have been hit with at least one major leak in recent months, with local media reporting Tuesday that the names, email addresses and places of work of supporters had begun appearing on the Telegram messenger and the Russian darknet.

On Wednesday, the independent monitor OVD-Info reported that police in Moscow had visited "at least 20" people overnight who had registered their names on Navalny's websites or sent donations to his groups.

The monitor said police "demanded explanations about the donations" and why their names were in the database. It added that one person said police asked him to write a report against Navalny over "the illegal transfer of personal data".

Journalist and activist Ilya Azar said on Facebook that his home was one of those police had visited, while key Navalny aide Leonid Volkov said that police had gone to "several dozen" people in "an act of terrorism".

Police barged in "at night, at the same time, with threats to bang down doors, so that hundreds of thousands of our supporters in Moscow feel as uncomfortable as possible", he wrote on Telegram.

The interior ministry did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment.

In April, Navalny's key aide Ivan Zhdanov confirmed that a database containing supporters' information had been leaked and the next month blamed it on a former ally, who denied the claim. 

Navalny was sent to jail in February after returning to Russia from Germany following a near-fatal poisoning attack that he blames on the Kremlin. 

The organisations of President Vladimir Putin's most vocal domestic critic have since been banned in Russia and all of his key allies have either fled the country or are under house arrest. 

But Navalny's aides are still calling for supporters to join his Smart Voting strategy, which aims to vote out candidates from the ruling United Russia party, in a parliamentary vote in September. 

Last week investigators charged Navalny with a new crime that could prolong his time behind bars by up to three years.


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