MOSCOW — The lead lawyer defending the Russian opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny in an extremism case that would outlaw Mr. Navalny’s opposition motion was arrested on Friday, the most recent occasion of a outstanding escalation by the Kremlin in its long-running marketing campaign to stifle dissent.
The lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, was detained after Russia’s Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., raided his Moscow lodge room at 6:40 a.m., his colleagues stated. He stood accused of revealing 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, one in every of Russia’s best-known human rights legal professionals, has regularly represented high-profile defendants in instances involving the F.S.B., a successor to the Ok.G.B. that wields huge affect in Russia. His arrest shook Russia’s activist group as a result of legal professionals have, for probably 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 connected to his professional activity,” a bunch of legal professionals stated in an open letter Friday. “We believe that these actions by law enforcement are aimed exclusively at scaring Ivan and his colleagues in order to force them to reject an active position in defending their clients.”
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. But he denied that the latest spate of law-enforcement strain on opposition figures, activists, journalists and now legal professionals was all a part of a single marketing campaign in opposition to Kremlin critics.
“This is not all part of a unified trend,” Mr. Peskov informed reporters. “These are different episodes and different cases.”
Mr. Pavlov runs a authorized rights group known as Team 29, named after the article of the Russian Constitution that ensures the liberty of thought and speech. The group’s purchasers embrace Ivan Safronov, a former journalist accused of spying for NATO last year.
Team 29 stated that Mr. Pavlov was being investigated for allegedly disclosing categorized particulars of the Safronov case to the information media.
But the raids got here simply 4 days after Mr. Pavlov took up the protection of Mr. Navalny, Russia’s most outstanding opposition determine. On Monday, Team 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.
“Under the guise of liberal slogans,” prosecutors stated, “these organizations are busy forming conditions for destabilizing the social and sociopolitical situation.”
Mr. Pavlov stated on Monday that his crew would disclose as a lot data as doable concerning the extremism case in opposition to Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and his regional places of work, though the authorities had categorized the proof as a state secret.
“We know very well what a state secret is, and we know how to work with this,” Mr. Pavlov stated. “We also know which information cannot be classified under 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, rising 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 said they were 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 skin world. In response to the April 15 American sanctions in opposition to Russia over hacking and different “harmful foreign activities,” Russia countered by, amongst different issues, prohibiting the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from using people who find themselves not American residents.
The U.S. Embassy stated on Friday that the transfer had compelled it to put off three quarters of its consular workers. As a end result, the embassy said, it might cease processing almost all nonimmigrant visa requests in Russia, resembling for tourism or work journey.
Russia on Friday additionally stated it might prohibit eight senior European officers — together with David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament and Vera Jurova, a Czech who’s a vice chairman of the European Commission — from getting into the nation.
The transfer was a response to sanctions the European Union imposed on Russia in March associated to Mr. Navalny’s case. Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated these sanctions had proven that the European Union seeks “to constrain the development of our country at any cost.”
Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting.