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MOSCOW, February 13. /ITAR-TASS/. A senior Russian lawmaker from the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has pointed to what she described as signs of extremism in opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s Twitter post regarding the recent murder of a judge in Ukraine.
“A postcard to Russian judges,” Navalny tweeted on Wednesday, posting a link to a Kommersant daily report. The report cited the Ukrainian Interior Ministry as saying a judge who had chosen the measure of restraint for Ukrainian anti-government protesters was shot dead in the city of Kremenchug in the country’s central Poltava Region.
The ruling United Russia party’s Irina Yarovaya, head of the State Duma’s security and anticorruption committee, said “Mr. Navalny’s message looks not only as mockery of human life but also transmits a positive attitude toward a murder.”
“By his deed, he actually excuses the crime against the judge in Kremenchug,” Yarovaya told journalists, adding that she believed that by addressing his tweet to Russian judges, Navalny “uses it as a threat, a warning,” which is “inadmissible”, as such actions contain “signs of a threat of violence.”
“This tweet needs to be urgently removed as it contains extremist elements,” she said.
“Navalny’s reckless and defiant statements on different occasions are becoming his style,” Georgy Fyodorov, a member of Russia’s Public Chamber, told Itar-Tass. “This is a boorish act.”
Fyodorov said such acts destroy Navalny’s image as a “politician trying to look an opposition figure and human rights advocate.”
Situation in Ukraine
Ukraine has been hit by anti-government protests that started when the country’s authorities refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union at a summit in Vilnius in November 2013 and opted for closer ties with Russia instead. The protests have often turned into violent clashes with police.
The Ukrainian leadership adopted tougher laws for public order violations in mid-January, which triggered another wave of protests, with three protesters believed to have been killed, and up to 200 policemen injured. The laws were later repealed.
Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov resigned on January 28, and the Ukrainian authorities also decided to pardon participants in the riots on the condition protesters vacated state and local power institutions they had seized within 15 days. Opposition leaders reacted defiantly and with skepticism to the amnesty law that entered into force February 2.