A prominent Russian human rights lawyer, representing organizations founded by imprisoned opposition figure Alexei Navalny, said on Tuesday that he had fled the country under pressure from authorities.
Ivan Pavlov, 50, is the latest high-profile opposition figure to leave Russia as the crackdown on dissenting votes intensifies in the run-up to parliamentary elections later this month.
The lawyer, best known for taking on treason cases, wrote on Telegram that he had left for neighboring Georgia.
‘I am now an emigrant. In Georgia for now,” he said.
Pavlov this year defended Navalny’s network of regional offices and his Anti-Corruption Foundation after prosecutors called for them to be banned as extremist.
He also covered the case of former journalist Ivan Safronov, who was arrested in July 2020 on charges of treason and charged with passing state secrets to Czech intelligence.
In April, authorities opened a criminal investigation against Pavlov and banned him from using a telephone and the Internet for allegedly releasing classified information related to the Safronov trial.
“The bans imposed on me in connection with the criminal case have made my work impossible,” Pavlov wrote.
But, he said, “the prohibitions didn’t apply to one thing: leaving the country. It was a sign pointing to the exit.”
He claimed to have been followed before his departure, including at the airport. But he said he was not stopped from leaving the country.
He said he made sure his clients were represented by other “trustworthy lawyers” during his absence and added that he plans to return to Russia one day.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for September 17 and 19, in which almost all of the Kremlin’s vocal critics – including Navalny’s allies – will be barred from participating.
In recent years, authorities have stepped up their efforts to silence dissent, and a wide range of individuals, including scientists, have been accused of treason or revealing state secrets.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)