Dmitry Gudkov, a Russian opposition leader who was detained for two days this week, has accused authorities of arresting him and other Kremlin critics on false accusations in order to prevent them from standing in the parliamentary election in September.
The 41-year-old former member of parliament was released by Moscow police on Thursday, but he remains a suspect in a criminal investigation filed over suspicions that he failed to pay a rental property bill.
Gudkov, who denies any ties to the property, told Reuters on Friday that the charges were brought against him to stifle his political ambitions.
President Vladimir Putin signed a new law on Friday prohibiting members of “extremist” organizations from running for government. The rule was passed just days before a court considered condemning Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation and regional campaign groups as extremist.
The measure effectively puts a stop to some of Navalny’s allies’ parliamentary election campaigns.
Gudkov, who is also due in court next week for his role in an unauthorized street protest in support of Navalny, expressed fear that the new rule could target him as well.
“I fully recognize that this is not the end,” he stated.