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17 Feb, 2022 19:38

Father of exiled Navalny ally jailed

Yuri Zhdanov given three years behind bars for fraud
Father of exiled Navalny ally jailed

The father of a close aide of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been given three years in prison for fraud, in a case the activist’s allies have called politically motivated.

Yuri Zhdanov, the father of Ivan Zhdanov, was given a suspended sentence last year. However, on Thursday, a court in the Russian city of Naryan-Mar overturned Zhdanov’s probation, citing a violation, opting instead to replace it with a real jail term, meaning he will now be forced to serve the entire three years behind bars.

Naryan-Mar is a small city around 1,500 kilometers north of Moscow and sits inside the Arctic Circle.

“His sentence was changed. The court swapped the suspended sentence with a real one. We will appeal,” his lawyer told Moscow daily RBK.

Zhdanov was arrested in March last year. The former local official was charged with abuse of power for recommending the allocation of an apartment to a woman who had a social contract of employment. Later, it turned out that the woman had already received a housing subsidy. The contract was declared invalid, and the apartment was taken away from her.

Although he was initially accused of abuse of power, the charge was later increased to fraud committed by an organized group.

According to Ivan Zhdanov, his own political activity is the reason for his father’s problems with the law. Ivan was the director of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), founded with the goal of exposing corrupt high-ranking officials. In 2019, the group was labeled a foreign agent due to funding from abroad. Two years later, it was liquidated after being designated an extremist organization.

In June last year, Ivan was placed on the federal wanted list for being part of the FBK, and has since fled abroad. He has since been added to the country’s register of terrorists and extremists, alongside fellow Navalny ally Leonid Volkov.

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