A Moscow court has ordered the closure of a foundation that funds the activities of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, in the latest setback for the prominent Kremlin critic.
The court’s decision on Monday upheld a request from the Russian Justice Ministry, which investigated Navalny’s “Fifth Season” foundation and determined that it had broken the law, according to state news agency Tass.
The foundation’s lawyers have said they plan to file an appeal against the ruling.
“We believe the Justice Ministry’s request to be unlawful as the foundation is active in accordance with the Russian legislation, while the violations which have been discovered may be remedied,” said lawyer Ivan Zhdanov, according to Tass.
The court’s decision is the latest blow to Navalny, who has been barred from running in March’s presidential election because of an embezzlement conviction which both he and his supporters believe is politically motivated.
Navalny is calling on Russians to boycott the upcoming vote and has called for nationwide protests on January 28.
In recent years Navalny has become the most prominent opposition figure in Russia, using his YouTube channel to reach his supporters.
He first came to prominence in 2011 when he courted the votes of young people by tapping into their disillusionment with corruption and a slow economy.
In March of last year, he galvanized thousands to join protest marches across the country in some of the largest anti-government protests Russia had seen in years.
He was arrested and jailed for 15 days.
Vladimir Putin, who is seeking his fourth term as Russian President, is widely expected to win the election on March 18.
CNN’s Emma Burrows reported from Moscow. James Masters wrote from London.