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Anti-Kremlin Blogger Wants to Take on Russian President at the Polls

A prominent Kremlin critic has said he would like to become the country's president and jail the man he is seeking to replace.

Alexei Navalny, the popular anti-corruption blogger who is a leader of Russia's opposition, told the independent Rain television station late Thursday he wants to become president "to change the system of governance of the country" and thereby ensure its top officials "don't lie and don't steal."

Navalny said he would "do everything" to see that President Vladimir Putin and his associates are sent to prison for their alleged abuses.

The 36-year-old lawyer himself faces possible jail time. On April 17, Navalny will go on trial for allegedly stealing assets worth about $500,000 from a state timber company while he was advising a local governor in 2009.

Navalny has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated, and added he has "no doubt" he will be found guilty. If so, he faces a possible 10-year prison sentence.

Navalny helped organize mass protests starting in 2011 against alleged electoral fraud and Mr. Putin's return to the presidency.



In a poll published Thursday by the Moscow-based Levada Center, 14 percent respondents familiar with Navalny said they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for him for president. However, 64 percent of those polled said they had not even heard of him.

Russia's next presidential election is set to take place in 2018.

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