Last week in Russia, state agents tore apart the offices of FBK, a privately funded anti-corruption foundation, freezing group assets and more than 100 bank accounts. Officials are using suspicion of money laundering as justification for targeting the largely bitcoin-funded group, possibly in a bid to quell their hand in upsetting Moscow politics. This case and others, like raising donations or moving through airport security checks, demonstrates something bitcoiners have known for years: a math-based money that exists on the blockchain cannot be confiscated.
Empty Safes in Russia
Alexey Navalny’s Moscow-based Anti-Corruption Foundation, known as FBK, is a perpetual thorn in the side of prevailing political powers in Russia, receiving significant funding in bitcoin and converting it to Russian rubles via a cash-in exchange service. According to Russian officials, the group has potentially laundered 75 million rubles (over 1 million USD) and in effect 100 bank accounts have been frozen, totaling assets worth $430,360, according to Russian media outlet Meduza.io.
FBK campaign chief Leonid Volkov maintains there is nothing illegal about their funding process, and that authorities there are only trying to intimidate dissenters. FBK’s press secretary Kirya Yarmysh states:
This case is fabricated from beginning to end, and its only goal is to scare people and stop the FBK’s activities.
These activities include a new “Smart Voting” project which offers voting tips for those interested in opposing United Russia, the ruling party in the country. FBK’s website is currently blocked as well. The group has become especially important now to Russia’s opposition supporters, as opposition candidates have been barred from participation in Moscow’s upcoming municipal elections,