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Support for Navalny’s activities dwindles in Russia as poll shows many citizens back designation of his organizations as extremist

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Russians view imprisoned opposition figure Alexey Navalny and his activities in an increasingly negative light, it was revealed on Friday, with many approving of the court’s decision to designate his organizations as extremist.

That’s according to a new poll conducted by the Levada Centre, branded as a foreign agent by the Russian Ministry of Justice, which revealed that the percentage of Russians who approve of Navalny has dropped from 20% in September 2020 to 14% in June 2021.

The number of those who disapprove of the Western-backed protest leader increased from 50% to 62% over the same period.

Navalny was found to be most popular in the age group 18-34 (24%), with just 8% of those over 55 supporting the activist.

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The survey also found that 32% of Russians support the decision of the courts to designate Navalny’s structures as ‘extremist,’ with just 27% disapproving. Another 41% were indifferent or had no answer, the poll revealed.

Among those who declared support for President Vladimir Putin, an even higher percentage (40%) said they agree with the extremist label. 

On June 9, a court in Moscow agreed with the public prosecutor that the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and Navalny’s regional headquarters are “extremist organizations,” ruling that their activities should be immediately restricted.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the three organizations are responsible for attempting to create conditions to destabilize the country’s socio-political situation, with the aim of “changing the foundations of constitutional order” and even creating a Western-backed “color revolution.” Now, anyone who was “involved in the activities” of these groups is banned from being elected to any government position.

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Navalny is currently in jail, serving a two-year and eight-month jail term for breaking the conditions of a suspended sentence handed to him in 2014, when he was found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. Prosecutors claimed that he failed to show up when they needed to see him. At the time, Navalny was in Germany, convalescing from an alleged poisoning in Siberia last August, which he claims was ordered by the Russian government. The Kremlin denies any involvement.

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