Maria Pevchikh became chairman of the board of directors of the International Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF International), founded by associates of Alexei Navalny. A message about this was posted in Alexei Navalny’s social media accounts on his behalf.
The singers were replaced by Leonid Volkov, who resigned, undertaking to send a letter on behalf of the fund asking him to lift the sanctions against the leaders of Alfa-Bank.
The fact that Maria Pevchikh works at the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and heads the foundation’s investigation department became known to the general public after the poisoning of Alexei Navalny in 2020. Pevchikh then accompanied him during a trip to Russia. All major FBK investigations in recent years, including Putin’s so-called palace, are associated with his name. Pevchikh also co-produced the film Navalny, which recently won an Oscar.
According to Navalny’s message, Volkov “made a significant mistake in implementing the sanctions policy” and Navalny “was very pleased to learn that he had publicly acknowledged this and resigned from his position.” He himself also apologized for the actions of his colleague, admitting some of his responsibility. “I reaffirm our full commitment to the idea of applying sanctions against Putin’s corrupt officials, crooks and warmongers of all persuasions,” Navalny said. He calls the singers a “brilliant political leader”.
Volkov, in turn, confirmed that he remained in Navalny’s team. “I personally want to thank my colleagues for the great support they gave me in a situation where they had to deal with the problems caused by my erroneous actions,” he wrote.
On March 9, Leonid Volkov announced that he was “suspending his public socio-political activities” after former Ekho Moskvy editor Alexei Venediktov published a letter signed by Volkov in October last year on behalf of the FBK addressed to the head of the European Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, urging him to cancel the sanctions against the leaders of the Alfa group – Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev.
“This letter was a big political mistake. Worse, in doing so, I exceeded my authority – I signed it not personally, but on behalf of the organization. I did not inform my colleagues and therefore entrapped them,” Volkov wrote in a telegram.
A few days before Venediktov’s letters were made public with a request to lift restrictions on Russian businessmen, Alexei Navalny’s associates published an investigation which mentioned, among other things, the receipt of funds from the budget of Moscow City Hall by Venediktov structures.
The incident sparked a heated discussion on social media.
The International Anti-Corruption Foundation was created by associates of Alexei Navalny abroad, after the defeat of the Russian FBK, recognized by the authorities as an extremist organization.
Navalny himself, the founder of FBK, is in a Russian colony; human rights organizations and Western countries consider him a political prisoner and demand his release.