Russia deems support for jailed ex-Khabarovsk governor ‘extremist’

Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has banned a movement set up in support of jailed former Khabarovsk region Governor Sergey Furgal as “extremist”, it announced on Thursday.

The I/WE Are Sergey Furgal movement used “support for the former governor” as a pretext to engage in “extremist activities” with the goal of “violent regime change”, the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.

It went on to accuse the movement of calling for “terrorist action, mass unrest and violent acts against government officials” in activities it alleged were coordinated with “foreign centres engaged in destructive actions against Russia”.

Sergey Furgal, a member of the far-right populist Liberal Democratic Party, was governor of the Khabarovsk region between September 2018 and July 2020, when he was removed from office after being arrested on murder charges that were widely seen as politically motivated.

After mass protests against his arrest across the Khabarovsk region throughout 2020 and 2021, Furgal was sentenced to 22 years in a penal colony for double murder in February 2023.

As I/WE Are Sergey Furgal was never the name of a registered organisation, but just a slogan used by his supporters, it’s unclear whether such a movement actually existed, or what the consequences may be for anyone continuing to voice their support for Furgal.

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