The father of a close aide of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny is facing charges of large-scale fraud and forgery and a possible 10 years behind bars, in a case the activist’s allies have called politically motivated.
Yury Zhdanov, whose son Ivan is a foreign-based activist in the Navalny network, was arrested in March on charges of abuse of office. The elder Zhdanov once worked in the village of Iskateley in Russia’s far north as a member of the local housing commission, and was initially detained after being accused of giving social housing to somebody who was later revealed to have already received a subsidy.
Now, Yury Zhdanov stands charged with a much more serious crime: large-scale fraud and forgery by an official.
According to a post on his son’s Instagram account, the new crime he is accused of is exactly the same as before, but prosecutors have added the words “for mercenary purposes” to his charge sheet. Because of that, he now faces 10 years behind bars.
“Essentially, they want to send an elderly, 67-year-old person away for life imprisonment,” Ivan Zhdanov wrote.
In March, the younger Zhdanov named his own political activities as the reason for his father’s arrest. The campaigner is the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, an organization branded a foreign agent by the Russian Ministry of Justice.
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