(Moscow) President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called on law enforcement to step up crackdowns on those seeking to “destabilize” Russia, amid a hunt for opponents of the military offensive in Ukraine.

“I ask you to respond harshly to attempts to destabilize the social and political situation in the country,” Putin said in a meeting with prosecutors.

He also asked to be “more active in the fight against extremism”, a catch-all term in Russian law that allows the prosecution of jihadist organizations, pro-Ukrainian activists, political opponents and even witnesses. of Jehovah.

The movement of the main Russian opponent, Alexei Navalny, now imprisoned, had thus been classified as “extremist” in 2021 by the courts, leading to the imprisonment of several of its activists and the exile abroad of many others.

The events related to the poisoning of the opponent, before his imprisonment, were the subject of a film entitled “Navalny” and which was crowned the Oscar for best documentary on Monday.

Mr. Navalny opposes the Russian offensive in Ukraine and had called on the Russians to show their disagreement.

Social networks Facebook and Instagram were also designated “extremist” and banned shortly after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, while their parent company Meta was placed on the list of “terrorist” organizations.

Since the beginning of the offensive in Ukraine, Russia has taken a series of repressive measures punishing any criticism of the army and several people have already received heavy prison sentences.

On Wednesday, a Russian military court sentenced a man, Kirill Butylin, to 13 years in prison for setting fire to a military enlistment center, Russian news agencies reported.

Mr. Putin, on the other hand, ordered to strengthen “the protection of the fundamental rights of servicemen, participants and veterans of the special military operation” in Ukraine, and their families.