Russian Court Orders Arrest of Navalny’s Widow, Yulia Navalnaya

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A Russian court on Tuesday ordered the arrest in absentia of Yulia B. Navalnaya, the widow of Aleksei A. Navalny, who was a key figure in the country’s political opposition, accusing her of “participating in an extremist community.”

The court order against Ms. Navalnaya, who left Russia in 2021, comes five months after her husband died under murky circumstances in a harsh Russian penal colony. He was imprisoned after being convicted of various trumped-up charges when he returned to Russia after a near-fatal attempt to poison him in August 2020.

Ms. Navalnaya has repeatedly accused President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia of murdering her husband and has vowed to continue his opposition work. She has become an outspoken critic of Russia’s war in Ukraine, using episodes like a Russian missile hitting a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday to blame Mr. Putin and the Kremlin for the bloodshed.

The statement from the Basmanny District Court’s press office announcing the arrest order did not spell out the reason for the charges, but it appeared to be linked to her role in helping to run the Navalny opposition organization. Although she avoided any overt political role while her husband was alive, Ms. Navalnaya has long led the advisory board of his Anti-Corruption Foundation.

The foundation, which itself was slapped with the “extremist” label and now operates as an international organization from exile in Lithuania, has repeatedly embarrassed Mr. Putin and other senior Kremlin officials by chronicling the estates, yachts and other financial assets that they have acquired while in office.

The order to arrest Ms. Navalnaya came from the Investigative Committee, and the court statement said her name would be placed on an international wanted list. Ms. Navalnaya left Russia in 2021. She would be subject to arrest if she ever returns to Russia, the statement said.

Ms. Navalnaya reacted to the court decision with a slightly mocking tone, noting in a post on the X social media platform that the court had jumped right to the “extremist” label without the usual interim steps like “foreign agent.”

“When you write about this, please do not forget to write the main thing: Vladimir Putin is a murderer and a war criminal,” Ms. Navalnaya wrote. “His place is in prison, and not somewhere in The Hague, in a cozy cell with a TV, but in Russia — in the same colony and the same two-by-three-meter cell in which he killed Aleksei.”

Ms. Navalnaya announced in April that she was helping to edit a manuscript that her husband had written during his time in prison. The book, which is about his political career, is expected to be released in the United States and elsewhere in October.

This month, she also became chairwoman of the Human Rights Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes human rights, succeeding Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster, who just completed a three-year term.

Milana Mazaeva contributed reporting.

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