Businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russian State Duma member Gennady Gudkov, writer Ksenia Larina and other prominent figures have been accused by Russian authorities of retaliating against an opponent by Russian law enforcers over the ouster of Alexei Navalny’s comrade Ivan Zhdanov’s father, Ashkar Zhdanov.
Yuri Zhdanov, 66, was remanded in custody late last week on charges of abuse of power after police searched his apartment in Rostov-on-Don on March 26.
According to Ivan Zhdanov, the father is accused of advising the administration of one of Russia’s remote boroughs to allocate a subsidized apartment to a local woman whose family, as she later revealed, had already received state housing assistance in the past, before retiring. The case went to court. The apartment was returned to the state, and the accused turned out to be only a recommender and not a decision-maker.
“I have no doubt that the prosecution for my activities has begun. This is something of a whole new level of morality and sobriety in the president’s administration. I can only imagine how it all ended there: Zhdanov calls people to rallies, calls for sanctions, let’s (arrest him) “They want to turn my life into hell,” Ivan Zhdanov wrote on Facebook.
While deeply saddened by the imprisonment of his 66-year-old ailing father, Alexei Navalny’s comrade-in-arms and chairman of the Anti-Corruption Foundation says he has no plans to change his plans to hold the largest protest rally in Russia to demand the release of Alexei Navalny.
“Father of the Enemy of the People”
The story of the arrest of Ivan Zhdanov’s father has caused a great deal of controversy on social media, which is not yet controlled by the Russian authorities. Prominent public figures, writers, journalists, human rights activists and civil activists in Russia and abroad are convinced that the authorities have arrested the father of the “enemy of the people” on fabricated charges in order to silence the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Fund.
“Ivan Zhdanov (Anti-Corruption Fund) was arrested by his father for another absolutely fabricated case. You always think – it’s already the bottom! “And every time Putin deepens it,” Mikhail Khodorkovsky wrote on Twitter.
“Ivan Zhdanov’s 66-year-old retired father, who has many diseases, has been arrested and imprisoned because he was deemed necessary.” Putin’s regime is entering a new phase of brutality: taking family members and relatives hostage. “Another threshold of moral decline has been overcome,” wrote Gennady Gudkov, an opposition lawmaker in the Russian State Duma, lower house of parliament.
“Ivan is not just being envied for his beliefs and political views, but Ivan is being trapped. Abamen is trapped to force and silence. This is the tradition of Enkavede (NKVD), which is rooted in the system of Russian law enforcement agencies, its main motto is: you can not capture the “enemy of the people”, then capture his children, parents, relatives. And then the “enemy” will run to you in prison and, kneeling, will beg for the release of his relatives and will start shouting: “Take me”! And you, the victor, will exclaim: “What do you say, are we not beasts? “They will find out now,” said writer Ksenia Larina.
But after the arrest of Zhdanov’s father, pro-government bots and trolls have become more active on the Internet these days to quell critical thinking. They try their best to justify the government’s agenda and emphasize that the law should be the same for everyone.
“The father of Ivan Zhdanov, an uncompromising anti-corruption fighter, has been found to be petty corrupt, but this is not surprising, including the hysteria that Vania has inflicted on his father,” Mordor’s voice wrote on Twitter, often attacking Kremlin critics.
His pathos is shared by another troll who supports the Kremlin government. “The Anti-Corruption Foundation did not justify the arrest of the father of the founder of the foundation, Zhdanov, for abuse of office. “This is all we need to know about the Anti-Corruption Fund,” said the anti-Western and anti-liberal Partners madness.
Ivan Zhdanov is not going to give up
Three days before police raided the home of Yuri Zhdanov, a pensioner in Rostov-on-Don, his son, Ivan Zhdanov, chairman of the Alexei Nalavani Anti-Corruption Foundation, and his comrades-in-arms demanded the release of Alexei Navalny.
“One of the tasks of this campaign to oust Alexei Navalny is to hold a big rally in the spring. This will be a fundamentally different rally. No one in the history of Russia has ever done such a thing. “It will be a rally that everyone will know about – a rally that Putin will not be able to disperse,” Alexei Navalny said in a statement posted on his website.
The authors of this initiative will announce the exact date of the rally only when the number of people willing to participate in the rally reaches half a million. Those wishing to hold a rally through a special site must vote and mark on the map the place where they live and take to the streets to demand the release of Alexei Navalny.
Alexei Navalny, founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, who was poisoned in Russia in late August 2020 with a substance from the Novichok group, returned to Moscow on January 17 after four months of treatment in Germany. He was arrested at the airport and sentenced to 30 days in jail on January 18.
On February 2, the Moscow District Court sentenced Alexei Navalny to E. წ. In the Yves Rocher case, the suspended sentence for fraud was commuted to real imprisonment and sentenced to 2.5 years’ imprisonment in a general regime colony.
Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger and Kremlin critic convicted by a court, has been serving his sentence in the Pokrov Correctional Facility in Vladimir District since March 11, 2021.
After three weeks in prison, the health condition of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has deteriorated so much that the wife of a political prisoner, Yulia Navalnaya, has appealed to the Russian president to release him immediately. Due to Navalny’s plight, Russian cultural figures have raised their voices.
On March 24, Russian filmmakers, writers, actors and other cultural figures wrote an open letter to the Russian authorities demanding that Alexei Navalny be provided with normal living conditions, that he be allowed to meet freely with lawyers in the colony and removed from the register as a fugitive.
“Let’s call things by their names: it has been decided that Navalny will simply be imprisoned, at least as a disabled person. I do not want to talk about the worst – everyone knows everything. “Vladimir Putin is personally responsible for what happened, who is taking revenge on his opponent in front of the whole country and the whole world and posing a real threat to his life,” Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Anti-Corruption Fund, wrote on Facebook on March 26.
Exactly on the day when Ivan Zhdanov, who was abroad, wrote these words on Facebook, the law enforcers searched his father’s house in Rostov-on-Don and the next day, 66-year-old Yuri Zhdanov was charged.
The director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation is convinced that the arrest of his father was intended to put pressure on him.
“It is quite clear to me that this situation is conceived in order to hurt my conscience and at the same time try to make me stop doing what I am doing. Because of this I am not going to change my plans at all and my father understood this perfectly. When I first spoke to him, he told me: “Everything is in order. The main thing is not to do anything stupid. “Therefore, it will not affect my plans,” Ivan Zhdanov told RFE / RL’s Joint Russian-language project Nastoyashchee Vremia.
Zhdanov’s senior lawyer, Denis Nikolaenko, told the media that during the search of the house, Yuri Zhdanov was not allowed to contact the lawyer, and that equipment and documents were removed from the house, which had nothing to do with the criminal case. During the interrogation, 66-year-old Yuri Zhdanov, who suffers from a number of diseases, became ill and it was necessary to call an ambulance.
Russian authorities have not yet commented on the arrest of Ivan Zhdanov’s father.