Friday, July 24, 2020

Kremlin Now Using Third-Party Lawsuits to Bankrupt Those who Oppose It, Agora Report Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 22 – The Kremlin has found a new wave to go after its political opponents: using suits by third parties to bankrupt and thus hobble them, even as the powers that be maintain plausible deniability that they are not involved in this latest move to destroy civil society in the Russian Federation.

            This new tactic has been adopted because Russian society has shown that it is willing to help finance opposition groups even as their access to funds from abroad have been choked off, and it has been used both in the case of Aleksey Navalny’s Foundation for the Struggle with Corruption and Olga Romanova’s Sitting Russia which sought to help prisoners.

            According to Russian commentator Ivan Preobrazhensky, officials in the Kremlin “are certain that they have found a universal method of suppressing civic activity and struggling against the ‘extra-systemic opposition,” one that resembles what Putin did against independent media two decades ago and that gives him deniability (комментарий-закрытие-фбк-или-как-надежно-вытравить-оппозицию-в-россии/a-54253262).

            Preobrazhensky’s disturbing conclusions arise from a study how the powers that be have moved against Navalny that was prepared by the Agora human rights organization. The full study is available at and is discussed at

            Using nominally third-party suits against opposition groups, of course, is only an additional arrow in the Kremlin’s quiver. It continues to arrest and harass opponents in other ways ( But because of the deniability it provides, this hybrid attack may prove effective if Russians and the West fail to see it for what it is.

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