Six officials at the Moscow regional prosecutor's office have reportedly been fired for liking social media posts by jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which is banned in the country as extremist.
The Baza Telegram channel cited sources in the prosecutor’s office on October 21 as saying that a deputy prosecutor for the town of Lytkarino is among the officials who were fired.
According to the sources, the officials were relieved of their duties after a campaign was held to check the online history of all employees to see if they had any ties to "organizations hostile to Russia." Earlier this year, dozens of workers at the Moscow Metropolitan Company were fired for joining an online campaign to support Navalny. Some of them managed to get their jobs back via courts later. In August, Moscow police used leaked online personal data from projects linked to Navalny and visited almost 500 residents of the Russian capital demanding explanations as to how their names were included in the leaked data. In some cases, police tried to force people to file legal complaints against Navalny to accuse him of sharing personal data.
Navalny associates said earlier in April that a former FBK worker had stolen the personal data of those who registered at the pro-Navalny site.
In June, a court in Moscow labeled FBK and Navalny's other projects and groups extremist and banned them. Under Russian law, cooperation with such groups is considered illegal and may lead to criminal prosecution. Navalny was arrested on January 17 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he went through a life-saving treatment for poisoning with a Novichok-type nerve agent that he says was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has denied any role in the incident, which was the latest of numerous attacks on Navalny. More than 10,000 people were rounded up during nationwide rallies protesting Navalny's arrest organized in more than 100 Russian towns and cities on January 23 and January 31. On February 2, Navalny was convicted of violating the terms of his suspended sentence related to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated. The remainder of Navalny's suspended sentence, 2 1/2 years, was then replaced by a real prison term. That ruling sparked new protests that were also forcibly dispersed by police. More than 1,400 people were detained by police in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities during those demonstrations.