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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Update: June 1, 2016

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Police Search Opposition Leader Navalny's Home in Libel Case Related to Ekho Moskvy Blog Post

Police interrogated Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader known for anti-corruption campaigns, and searched his home in connection with a libel case stemming from a blog post on Ekho Moskvy, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing Interfax.

Navalny's lawyer Vadim Kobzev reported on Twitter that he was subjected to a personal search in which he was asked to empty his pockets and turn over and then take off his shoes and pants. 

Translation: A search of @navalny's home has begun.

Translation: An agent of the Anti-Extremism Center is digging in the foyer.

The agent is wearing a t-shirt that says "To Live is Good and to Live Well is Even Better!"

Translation: They are searching the children's room.

Translation: Four people are conducting the search of the children's room. They are looking for Dasha's and Zakhar's secrets. Dasha herself is reading a book with the most imperturbable expression.

Dasha and Zakhar are Navalny's young daughter and son.

Translation: A telephone has been discovered in a jacket in the form of a hedgehog. What to do? "We're confiscating it."

Translation: In the Navalnys' kitchen, a large Tula gingerbread cookie has been found. Alexey voluntarily reports that inside may be hidden a walkie-talkie and an aqualung.

Navalny's joke refers to the crude smear of him by state TV claiming he is a CIA agent code-named "Agent Freedom."  Yesterday police came to Ekho Moskvy regarding a libel case involving a former Interior Ministry investigator, Pavel Karpov, who is on the Magnitsky List of those suspected of involvement in the cover-up of the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief Aleksei Venediktov said the editor of the website was interrogated in the case.

Translation: The interrogation of the Ekho site's editor-in-chief Vitaly Ruvinsky in the "Navalny-Karpov" case is over. They were interested to know whether Navalny could have posted his blog without the editors' knowledge.

This latest libel case follows a string of previous searches, trumped-up criminal cases as well as physical attacks. The European Court of Human Rights declared that a case involving accusations of fraud in a lumber deal was unfounded and politicized.

Navalny was searched in 2012 and 2014, as were his employees and parents.
The cases are related to Navalny's work at the Anti-Corruption Fund, a non-governmental organization he funded to investigate allegations of graft and fraud among government officials.

Earlier this year, Navalny released a video expose of Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and his two sons, implicating them in offshore deals. Chaika responded by denouncing Navalny as a KGB agent. Navalny believes Chaika could be behind a brutal attack by Cossacks in Krasnodar on Navalny and his group in which several of his colleagues were badly injured. 

Navalny has faced libel cases before, but just suffered a fine. This case looks like it may escalate into more serious charges.
Navalny also has reported on his earlier findings that dovetail with the leaked files known as the "Panama Papers."
This has led to a comprehensive investigation of Navalny's organization and his dealings with various companies as an activist minority shareholder.

In 2014, Navalny was handed a suspended sentence of 2.5 years in yet another trumped-up criminal case related to the French company Yves Rocher. His brother, however, who is not involved in opposition activities, was forced to serve a 2.5 year sentence and has been thrown in the punishment cell in labor colony a number of times. It is believed that authorities are trying to use him to put pressure on Navalny.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick