MOSCOW — The lead lawyer defending the Russian opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny in an extremism case that might outlaw Mr. Navalny’s opposition motion was arrested on Friday, the newest occasion of a exceptional escalation by the Kremlin in its long-running marketing campaign to stifle dissent.
The lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, was detained after Russia’s Federal Safety Service, or F.S.B., raided his Moscow lodge room at 6:40 a.m., his colleagues stated. He stood accused of exposing particulars of a law-enforcement investigation unconnected to Mr. Navalny and confronted three months of jail time. Mr. Pavlov’s colleagues stated brokers additionally searched their group’s St. Petersburg places of work and broke down the house door of their expertise supervisor.
Mr. Pavlov, certainly one of Russia’s best-known human rights legal professionals, has incessantly represented high-profile defendants in instances involving the F.S.B., a successor to the Okay.G.B. that wields monumental affect in Russia. His arrest shook Russia’s activist neighborhood as a result of legal professionals have, for essentially the most half, been in a position to proceed to function even because the authorities have intensified their crackdown on the opposition.
“Ivan’s arrest is linked to his skilled exercise,” a bunch of legal professionals stated in an open letter Friday. “We imagine that these actions by legislation enforcement are aimed solely at scaring Ivan and his colleagues with a purpose to power them to reject an lively place in defending their purchasers.”
A choose later launched Mr. Pavlov however barred him from utilizing the telephone or the web.
Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin, stated he didn’t know the explanations for Mr. Pavlov’s arrest and couldn’t touch upon it. However he denied that the current spate of law-enforcement strain on opposition figures, activists, journalists and now legal professionals was all a part of a single marketing campaign towards Kremlin critics.
“This isn’t all a part of a unified pattern,” Mr. Peskov instructed reporters. “These are totally different episodes and totally different instances.”
Mr. Pavlov runs a authorized rights group referred to as Group 29, named after the article of the Russian Structure that ensures the liberty of thought and speech. The group’s purchasers embody Ivan Safronov, a former journalist accused of spying for NATO final 12 months.
Group 29 stated that Mr. Pavlov was being investigated for allegedly disclosing labeled particulars of the Safronov case to the information media.
However the raids got here simply 4 days after Mr. Pavlov took up the protection of Mr. Navalny, Russia’s most distinguished opposition determine. On Monday, Group 29 introduced it might be representing Mr. Navalny’s organizations in a lawsuit filed in April by Moscow prosecutors to have the organizations outlawed as extremist teams.
“Below the guise of liberal slogans,” prosecutors stated, “these organizations are busy forming circumstances for destabilizing the social and sociopolitical scenario.”
Mr. Pavlov stated on Monday that his staff would disclose as a lot data as potential concerning the extremism case towards Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Basis and his regional places of work, though the authorities had labeled the proof as a state secret.
“We all know very effectively what a state secret is, and we all know the way to work with this,” Mr. Pavlov stated. “We additionally know which data can’t be labeled below any circumstances.”
Mr. Navalny returned to Russia in January after recovering from a poisoning that Western officers imagine was an assassination try by the Russian state. Since then, the Russian authorities have entered a brand new part of their yearslong marketing campaign to repress the opposition, growing their strain on journalists and jailing or forcing into exile Mr. Navalny’s associates. Mr. Navalny was sentenced to a two-and-a-half 12 months jail time period in February for violating parole for what rights teams say was a politically motivated conviction for embezzlement.
Anticipating that Mr. Navalny’s motion would quickly be outlawed as extremist, the opposition chief’s associates on Thursday stated they had been shutting down their nationwide community of 40 regional places of work.
The crackdown on dissent has accompanied rising tensions between Russia and the West, leaving common Russians more and more remoted from the surface world. In response to the April 15 American sanctions towards Russia over hacking and different “dangerous international actions,” Russia countered by, amongst different issues, prohibiting the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from using people who find themselves not Americans.
The U.S. Embassy stated on Friday that the transfer had pressured it to put off three quarters of its consular workers. Consequently, the embassy stated, it might cease processing practically all nonimmigrant visa requests in Russia, comparable to for tourism or work journey.
Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting.