Several allies of Russian opposition leader Navalny arrested at Moscow airport

It is an understatement to say that he is not welcome in his country of origin. While Russian opponent Alexey Navalny is currently on a plane to Russia, several of his allies were arrested this Sunday by police at Moscow airport, where they came to receive him, announced an opponent’s collaborator. The opponent took off in the middle of the afternoon from Berlin airport, where he had been treated since his poisoning this summer.

“Lioubov Sobol, Rouslan Chaveddinov, Ilia Pakhomov, lawyer Alexey Molokoyedov, assistant to Navalny Ilia Pakhomov, campaign director Anastasia Kadetova and Konstantin Kotov were arrested”, Ivan Zhdanov said on twitter, one of the closest collaborators of Alexei Navalny. A video released by opposition media MBKh Media shows the police calmly escorting several people, including Lioubov Sobol, a rising figure in the Russian opposition who has been in prison for a few weeks.

(Credit: AP)

Among the other people arrested is Rouslan Chaveddinov, a collaborator with Alexei Navalny known for having been forcibly sent in 2019 to perform compulsory military service in the Arctic, after a search aimed at organizing his opponent. Konstantin Kotov is also a well-known Russian opposition activist, who was released in December after serving a harsh prison sentence of one and a half years for “repeated violations” of protest organization rules.

The opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta also reported the arrest of its correspondent at Moscow airport in Vnukovo. According to MBKh Media, about 10 people were arrested before the opponent’s return to Russia, which also risks being arrested immediately upon arrival by order of the Russian justice system. Russian authorities have warned against participating in any unauthorized “public event” held at Vnukovo airport, home to some 200 supporters of Alexei Navalny and riot police units.

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