Aleksey Navalny to pay $5k-fine for holding 'campaigning subbotnik'

Aleksey Navalny to pay $5k-fine for holding 'campaigning subbotnik'
Navalny and his colleagues to pay 850 thousand rubles ($14 thousand) for repeated violation of campaigning rules Photo: Evgeny Feldman

A new headquarters of the opposition member was opened in Moscow during his trial.

On August 3, the Simonovsky District Court of Moscow fined Aleksey Navalny for 300,000 rubles ($5 thousand) for violation of article 20.2, part 8 of the Russian Administrative Violations Code. He was fined for a repeated violation of rules for organization of public events. His colleagues Leonid Volkov (Navalny’s federal HQ head) and Nikolay Lyaskin (Navalny’s Moscow HQ head) were fined for 300,000 and 250,000 rubles ($4.1 thousand), respectively. They were fined for a 'campaigning subbotnick' held by Navalny supporters on July 8-9; volunteers handed out campaign leaflets to passersby. This was a part of a campaign for Navalny to be allowed to run for President of Russia, according to Volkov’s earlier statements. The judge decided Navalny and his colleagues encouraged people to participate in an unauthorized rally.

Individuals can be fined for 150 to 300 thousand rubles, forced to do 200 hours of community service, or be arrested for 30 days for violation of article 20.2, part 8. Navalny had been charged with similar offenses after unauthorized rallies held on March 26 and June 12.

Social activists have been advocating Navalny should be allowed to run for President of Russia since February, and held a big 'campaigning subbotnick' on July 8-9, according to Volkov’s judicial explanation. They held 209 events in July, he added. Here is what he had to say on the matter, according to zona.media: "We can see tents with people raising money for Donbass victims, as well as tents of charity funds and religious groups. This type of activity has nothing to do with rallies, marches, etc. Here is what is going on: the Moscow city hall retrospectively condemns a public event as a 'disguised rally' and offers the police to prosecute its participants for it." Navalny’s attorney Iven Jdanov wrote on Twitter: "Ruling against Lyaskin is a word for word duplicate of the one against Volkov."

Here is what Navalny had to say when interviewed by Dozhd TV channel: "This ruling is absolutely illegal. Its goal is to put an end to my, our political activity." He told the judge she will pay these fines out of her own pocket one day.

Navalny’s new HQ was being opened during his trial held on 50 Gilyarovskogo Street, Moscow. Deputy HQ head Vitaly Serukanov encourages volunteers to get better at door-to-door and street campaigning. 150-200 volunteers attended the HQ opening ceremony. The police blocked Navalny’s previous HQ just before the 'campaigning subbotnick'. There was 1 volunteer there at the time. They were severely beaten, taken to court, and then to hospital.

Navalny has 69 HQs and about 134 volunteers supporting him all over Russia, plus he is working on launching his web-site. The Russian Supreme Court canceled a ruling convicting Navalny in the Kirovles case in November of 2016, following the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Navalny became able to run for President once more after that. He is going to run for President of Russia, according to his January announcement. However, the Leninsky District Court of Kirov gave him a 5-year suspended sentence in the framework of the case in February.

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