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Kremlin Critic Released After 15-day Jail Term

  • VOA News

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny leaves a detention center in Moscow, Russia, March 6, 2015.

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny leaves a detention center in Moscow, Russia, March 6, 2015.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released from prison Friday, after serving a 15-day sentence for handing out leaflets in the Moscow subway advertising an opposition rally.

Speaking to supporters, Navalny said the murder of fellow opposition leader Boris Nemtsov would not force him to back off from his campaign against President Vladimir Putin’s government.

“I would like to say that our activity will not change in any way. We will not lessen our efforts, we will not change anything, and in this sense, the act of terror that took place will not achieve its aims. I am sure that it will not frighten anyone. It has not frightened me and it has not frightened my comrades,” he said.

Navalny also said that he would pay a visit to the cemetery where Nemtsov was buried after being gunned down last week just outside the Kremlin.

A Moscow court rejected Navalny’s plea for early release to attend Nemtsov’s funeral Tuesday.

Navalny said Tuesday he believed Nemtsov was killed either by members of the state security services or a "pro-government organization" acting "on the orders of the political leadership of the country," including President Putin.

Putin called the killing a “provocation” and vowed to find those responsible. He is said to be overseeing the investigation.

No suspects have been detained, despite a reward of 3 million rubles (about $50,000) offered for information related to the case.

Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and one of Putin's sharpest critics, was killed hours after a radio interview in which he denounced the president for his "mad, aggressive" policies in Ukraine. Nemtsov was working on a report about direct Russian military involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine. Russian opposition activists have vowed to publish the documents collected by Nemtsov.

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