Russian law enforcement officers have raided the offices of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation in dozens of cities across Russia, according to his associates and human rights activists.
The leader of the Agora human rights group, Pavel Chikov, wrote on Telegram on September 12 that Navalny’s offices and those of the independent election-monitoring organization Golos were being searched in 38 cities.
The online human rights news resource Mediazona and OVD-Info, a group that monitors protests and arrests in Russia, also reported that dozens of Navalny’s offices and the homes of his associates across Russia were searched on the same day.
Leonid Volkov, a project manager at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, described the searches on Telegram as “a terrorist act” conducted by the authorities.
“Hundreds of law enforcement officers are involved in the morning operation…. It is obvious that the operation’s goal is to destroy the activities of our branches,” Volkov wrote.
On September 10, police searched offices of Navalny’s foundation in five other cities.
Police also searched Navalny’s offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg last week and in early August, when the Investigative Committee said a probe had been launched into suspected money laundering by Navalny’s foundation.
Navalny and his team have rejected the allegation, saying that the authorities are trying to cut off financial support to the foundation’s branches.
Navalny, 43, has been one of President Vladimir Putin‘s most vocal critics for the better part of a decade, enduring multiple incarcerations, a barred attempt to run for president, and a hamstrung bid for the Moscow mayor’s post.