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Russia's Opposition Elects Leaders Online

  • VOA News

Russia's opposition has held an online election for a 45-member leadership that will be tasked with organizing mass street protests against President Vladimir Putin into a more structured movement.

Organizers say nearly 82,000 people participated in the balloting that ended Monday. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny won more than half of the votes.

The poll comes amid increased government pressure on the opposition.

A senior leader of the Just Russia party, Leonid Razvozzhayev, was arrested Sunday. Government officials say he turned himself in, and that he admitted involvement in organizing mass disturbances in Russia. Razvozzhayev's supporters say he was kidnapped from Ukraine, and that his confession was extracted by torture.

The office of the United Nations refugee agency ((UNHCR)) in Kyiv confirmed that Razvozzhayev disappeared after registering with the agency on October 19.

Last week, authorities launched a probe against Left Front party leader Sergei Udaltsov and party member Konstantin Lebedev on charges that they organized mass riots in May in Moscow.

Elsewhere, a lawyer for the two convicted members of the anti-Kremlin all-female punk band Pussy Riot said they have been sent to prison camps far from Moscow.

Attorney Mark Feygin said Maria Alekhina was transferred to the Perm region in the Ural mountains and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to the central province of Mordovia.

The two, along with a third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for an unsanctioned protest at a Moscow cathedral.

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