A Moscow court has banned political organizations affiliated with jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, calling them “extremists.”
Activists will face imprisonment if they continue their work, and anyone who publicly supports Navalny’s political network may be barred from running for public office.
Through social media, Navalny has vowed not to back down.
“We are not going anywhere. We will overcome this, we will change, we will improve. We will adapt. We will not give up on our goals and ideas. This is our state and we have no other”.
However, he has said that his supporters now need to change the way they work.
Navalny is in jail for violating the rules of a suspended sentence, for an embezzlement case, a charge he considers politically motivated.
Russian parliamentary elections are expected in September, and polls suggest the ruling party is losing support.
Some of Navalny supporters have planned to run in the election.
Navalny’s lawyers have said they will appeal the court ruling to the opposition leader’s organization.
Navalny, who is Putin’s harshest critic, was detained in Russia in January after returning from Germany.
He was treated in Berlin after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.
Navalny has blamed Putin for ordering the poisoning, but the Kremlin denies it.
Putin has been in power as president or prime minister since 1999.