Russia | Navalny sympathizers targeted by police after data breach

(Moscow) An NGO and Russian opponents accused the police on Wednesday of making increased nightly visits to the homes of supporters of Alexey Navalny in Moscow after the data leaked online revealing their addresses.

Posted on 08/18/2021 at 6:50 am

The imprisoned opponent’s movement was hit by at least one online leak of personal data from thousands of supporters. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, a new wave of names was published on August 16 via Telegram couriers and the darknet.

OVD-Info, an organization specializing in monitoring repression against the opposition, said on Wednesday that it had received testimony from around twenty people who had been visited by “plainclothes and judicial officers”.

According to the NGO, all were registered as supporters or donors on websites linked to the Kremlin’s archenemy Alexeï Navalny, whose organizations were banned for extremism, particularly the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK).

“The police officers ask for explanations about these donations to the FBK and the reasons for their presence in the database”, so OVD-Info further.

According to a relative of Mr. Navalny, Leonid Volkov, who lives abroad to avoid prosecution, the police arrived at their targets in the middle of the night.

“This is an act of terror. During the night we loudly come to 20 people to scare as much as possible […] so that the hundreds of thousands of our supporters in Moscow are in discomfort, fear “, judged the opponent in the Telegram.

For Mr. Volkov, these names come from a database of supporters that was stolen from a former collaborator in the spring. This came from a website set up by Mr Navalny’s relatives to identify supporters willing to demonstrate for his release.

When contacted by AFP, the Moscow police did not respond immediately.

The repression of his movement has accelerated since January and when Mr Navalny was arrested on his return from recovery from poisoning accused of President Vladimir Putin.

Their organizations have been classified as extremist and banned, so all their supporters will be prosecuted.

The opponent is serving a two and a half year prison sentence for fraud, a conviction that has been denounced by his supporters and in the West. He is also the subject of several other trials and at least one indictment.

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