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Navalny Associate Flees Russia Fearing Arrest

Another associate of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has left the country fearing persecution amid an ongoing crackdown against the defunct organizations associated with the Kremlin critic that were labeled as extremist earlier this year.

Irina Fatyanova worked as the chief for Navalny's network of regional campaign groups in St. Petersburg until Navalny's team disbanded in April after a Moscow prosecutor went to court to have them branded as extremist. A court later accepted the prosecutor's request and labeled the national network extremist, effectively outlawing it.

Fatyanova wrote on Facebook late on November 23 that she left Russia for an unspecified country a week ago, stressing that it was "the hardest decision of my life."

Fatyanova wrote that she decided to leave the country after the arrest of the former chief of Navalny’s support group in Ufa, Lilia Chanysheva, two weeks ago.

In July, election authorities in St. Petersburg refused to register Fatyanova as an independent candidate to the St. Petersburg city parliament, citing her association with Navalny's team in the past.

Navalny has been in prison since February, while several of his associates, many of whom have fled Russia, have been charged with establishing an extremist group.

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