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Yury Zhdanov (file photo)

A Russian court has handed a three-year suspended sentence to Yury Zhdanov, the father of Ivan Zhdanov, a close associate of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, in a corruption case critics say is politically motivated.

Zhdanov, who spent several months in pretrial detention, was released from custody after sentencing, his lawyer, Vladimir Voronin, announced on Twitter on December 19.

Prosecutors had asked for Zhdanov, 67, to be sentenced to three years in jail on charges of fraud and forgery. Zhdanov rejected the charges.

Zhdanov was arrested in late March and went on trial in Russia's Arctic city of Naryan-Mar in October.

Ivan Zhdanov, the former chief of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has accused Russia's presidential administration of trying to pressure him by arresting his father.

Yury Zhdanov is accused of recommending that a remote town’s administration, where he worked as an official before his retirement last year, provide a local woman with a subsidized apartment, though it later turned out that the woman's family had previously received housing allocations.

The apartment was later returned to municipal ownership in accordance with a court decision and no one among those who made the decision was held responsible.

Navalny's FBK was known for publishing investigative reports about corruption among Russia's top officials, including President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this year, the FBK and other groups associated with Navalny were labeled as extremist and banned in Russia.

With reporting by Reuters
LGBT activists protest against amendments to the constitution in Moscow in July 2020. The placard says, "I don't recognize the authority that keeps me from having a family."

An organization that provides legal and counseling assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia's Far East has been listed as a "foreign agent."

The nonprofit organization Mayak, which says it has been operating in Russia since 2016, was added to the Justice Ministry's list of "unregistered public associations performing the functions of a foreign agent" on December 17.

Mayak is part of the Russian LGBT Network, Russia's largest gay and lesbian support group, which was branded a "foreign agent" on a separate list on November 8.

Russia maintains multiple lists of individuals and entities it considers to be working as "foreign agents," a label that is handed down in keeping with Russia's so-called "foreign agent" legislation adopted in 2012.

Among other things the designation requires nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign assistance and which are considered by the government to be engaged in political activities to register as "foreign agents," to identify themselves as such, and to submit to audits.

RFE/RL and a number of its services are among 103 individuals and entities listed as "foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent."

Mayak joins the election-monitoring NGO Golos as the only entities on the "unregistered public associations" list.

Mayak is headed by Regina Dzugkoyeva, who also heads the NGO Lilit.

Lilit, which implements social and legal programs in the Far East, was also designated a "foreign agent" on December 17.

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