Father of Anti-Corruption Foundation head released from prison

Yury Zhdanov, the father of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) director Ivan Zhdanov, has been released from prison in the northern Arkhangelsk region after serving a two-and-a-half year sentence.

Zhdanov said in an Instagram post that for several days he had “been so bold as to call myself a free man”, although he added that “freedom is always conditional”.

Recalling his ordeal over the past two-and-a-half years, he wrote: “I can’t lie; it was difficult. But I knew I had to go through all the trials with dignity. I was being watched by everyone whose own relatives are political prisoners, by everyone for whom ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’ are not empty words.”

Photo: Yury Zhdanov /  Instagram

Photo: Yury Zhdanov / Instagram

Zhdanov was arrested in March 2021 and charged with misconduct in his job as a village administrator in Russia’s autonomous Nenets region. When serving on the local housing commission, he had recommended the village allocate an apartment to a woman who, it transpired, had already received public housing.

The court found him guilty of “fraud” and “forgery” and sentenced him to three years in prison.

His son Ivan, who has long been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side for his anti-corruption work and close links to jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny, said that it was clear the authorities were just “looking for something on my father.” No other officials involved in the housing blunder — including Zhdanov’s direct supervisor — were punished.

Yury Zhdanov credited his survival in jail to his knowledge that he was in the right. He also credited the support of his friends, some of whom wrote him daily letters in captivity.

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