Russia labels exiled journalist and wife as ‘extremist group’

On Wednesday, an exiled Russian journalist accused the authorities of setting a new legal precedent aimed at silencing critics after a court labeled him and his wife as an “extremist group.”

The court in St. Petersburg ruled against Alexander Nevzorov and his wife Lidia, imposing a ban on their supposed extremist activities. Additionally, the court confiscated three plots of land, a building, a vehicle, and some company shares belonging to the couple, as reported by a court spokesperson.

In a YouTube interview, Nevzorov described the ruling as a potential precedent for future actions against others, emphasizing that the financial losses were secondary to the ruling’s broader implications.

“This is the first such case in the legal history of humanity. That is remarkable, of course,” he said. “The Putin state absolutely doesn’t give a damn what pennies it can grab as a result of these confiscations. Of course, they need to intimidate people.”

Nevzorov, now living outside Russia, rose to fame in the 1980s as the host of “600 Seconds,” a news show that capitalized on the “glasnost” reforms of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, which allowed journalists to investigate sensitive topics like corruption.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Nevzorov has been an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin and the war on his YouTube channel, which boasts nearly 2 million subscribers.

In February 2023, Nevzorov was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for spreading “fake news” about the armed forces.

The Kremlin claims that Russia is engaged in an existential war in Ukraine, necessitating national unity behind Putin. Authorities have depicted Russians who fled the country and condemned the war from abroad as traitors.

In January, the lower house of parliament passed a law permitting the seizure of property in Russia from individuals abroad who “discredit” or spread false news about the military, incite extremist activity, or call for sanctions against Russia.

Despite the ruling, Nevzorov expressed contentment, valuing his personal freedom above all.

“I’m the first person who was able to experience the sweetness of totally breaking – even in the smallest material things – with the cannibalistic, degenerate regime of Russia, with everything that was dear to me there or for some reason important,” he said.

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