A Moscow court on Wednesday night outlawed the organizations founded by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by labeling them extremist, the latest move in a campaign to silence dissent and bar Kremlin critics from running for parliament in September.
The Moscow City Court’s ruling, effective immediately, prevents people associated with Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his sprawling regional network from seeking public office. Many of Navalny’s allies had hoped to run for parliamentary seats in the Sept. 19 election.
The ruling, part of a multipronged Kremlin strategy to steamroll the opposition, sends a tough message one week before President Vladimir Putin holds a summit meeting with U.S. President Biden in Geneva.
The extremism label also carries lengthy prison terms for activists who have worked with the organizations, anyone who donated to them, and even those who simply shared the groups’ materials.
Navalny, Putin’s most ardent political foe, was arrested in January upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin — an accusation that Russian officials reject. In February, Navalny was given a 2 1/2-year prison term for violating the terms of a suspended sentence from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that he dismissed as politically motivated.
President Biden’s nominee to oversee Indigenous affairs at the Interior Department said Wednesday he won’t impede tribes as they seek to improve infrastructure, public safety and the economy on their lands.
Bryan Newland appeared before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, where he received widespread support to become assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. Tribes, too, have endorsed him as someone who is well-versed in the issues they face and as a tribal advocate.
Newland said the work will require collaboration across federal agencies, driven by tribes. He recounted how federal policies and laws impacted his childhood and his path to becoming chief judge in the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan and being elected tribal president.
“I know the first-hand connection between public service and the lives of others,” he said. “When you live with the people you serve, you can’t escape that connection.”
If confirmed by the full Senate, Newland would be responsible for maintaining the political relationship that 574 federally recognized tribes have with the federal government. Leaders of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of Indian Gaming and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education would report to him.
Newland currently serves as principal deputy assistant secretary at the Interior Department and served in the agency during the Obama administration. In the new role, he would advise Secretary Deb Haaland broadly on tribes.