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Coordinator of the Navalny headquarters and the Open Russia office in Saransk asked for political asylum in Finland

Denis Strelkov

Coordinator of the Navalny headquarters and Mordovia branch of liquidated network movement Open Russia Yevgeny Pashutkin asked Finland for political asylum. He decided to emigrate after his accounts were seized in the "FBK case" and there was a threat of criminal proceedings against him for cooperation with an "undesirable organization". He told about it to the correspondent "7x7" on October 1.

As Pashutkin told "7x7", over the year, Mordovian courts had imposed him two administrative penalties for cooperation with "the undesirable organization" and the threat of being charged with Article 284.1 of the Criminal Code ("Carrying out the activity of the undesirable organization") had appeared, and the Investigative Committee of Russia had begun investigation of the «FBK case» about alleged laundering of more than 1 billion rubles by supporters of politician Alexei Navalny.

Yevgeny Pashutkin feared that he would be prohibited to leave Russia, as in the case of coordinator of the St. Petersburg Navalny headquarters Denis Mikhailov, and then sentenced to imprisonment. Initially, he planned to go to Finland with his family and come back, but after his departure, friends told him about the discontent in the Investigative Committee’s regional department:

— When I was already here, I was informed from Saransk that the Investigative Committee was interested in me administrative cases. They found out that I had gone abroad, and they [got mad] about it. That does it, I have decided to stay here.

Pashutkin said that considering his petition could take some time, but he had the opportunity to be in the country, despite the fact that his accounts, as well as accounts of other activists in the "FBK case", contained −75 million rubles.

Activists of Open Russia from Chuvashia, Tatarstan, and Tyumen Oblast had left Russia due to the threat of criminal cases.

During mass protests in Moscow, the Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case under Article 174 of the Criminal Code ("The Legalisation (Laundering) of Funds") on August 3, 2019 and arrested the accounts of the coordinators of the regional headquarters of the politician Alexei Navalny and non-profit organization Anti-Corruption Foundation. Investigators believe that from 2016 to 2018, staff members contributed to the account of the FBK money, allegedly obtained from criminal activity. According to the newspaper "Vedomosti", the investigators did not provide any information about the crimes after which the FBC allegedly got the money.

Criminal liability for working for an "undesirable organization" was introduced into Russian law in 2015. It is applied after the court has issued two indictments under the same article of the Administrative Code. The first person involved in the criminal case under this article was the coordinator of the Rostov headquarters of Open Russia Anastasia Shevchenko — investigators consider network movement Open Russia to be undesirable same-name British movement. In March 2019, the network movement was liquidated.


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