News / Europe

Russia Opens New Investigation into Opposition Leader

FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny gestures as he walks outside a court in Moscow, Russia.FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny gestures as he walks outside a court in Moscow, Russia.
x
FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny gestures as he walks outside a court in Moscow, Russia.
FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny gestures as he walks outside a court in Moscow, Russia.
Russia has opened a new financial investigation into allegations against a prominent leader of the political opposition.  The announcement of a criminal probe against anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny comes as a rally against President Vladimir Putin is scheduled for Saturday.

A statement on the federal investigative committee’s website shows that Navalny and his brother are being investigated for allegedly stealing nearly $1.8 million through a trading company in which they are involved.

Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, says that most of the money the Navalny brothers allegedly stole was from a trade company and in order to launder that money he says they used fake contracts.

Navalny already faces charges of theft for allegedly stealing timber from a state company in the Kirov region where he was advising the governor in 2009.

Navalny and the opposition say President Vladimir Putin runs the country through a tightly-controlled political system and corruption -- charges the Kremlin denies.

Navalny says the charges against him are politically motivated.

Navalny says judging by the way the situation is developing now, the common logic suggests that he will go to prison and he is trying to prepare his relatives for it.  Navalny went on to say otherwise why would officials bring charges that everyone is laughing at.  He said if the "gun" is on the way, it should fire and they will jail him.

The Kremlin denies that Navalny is being targeted for his political views.

But Ilya Ponomaryov, a Just Russia Parliament Faction member, says the Kremlin continues to crack down on the opposition.

He said there is a threatening factor and that the investigative committee believes quite sincerely that the more criminal cases it opens, the more fearful people will be and the more silent they will be. Ponomaryov continued saying they must have received an order to do that, probably yesterday, during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny is not the only opposition leader who faces jail time.  In September, billionaire Alexander Lebedev, who owns a newspaper critical of the Kremlin, was charged with hooliganism for punching a fellow businessman on a state television show last year.  Lebedev says the charges are politically motivated because President Putin thinks he, Lebedev, is funding the opposition.  Lebedev denies the charges.

The announcement of new charges against Navalny come a day ahead of a planned opposition protest against Putin.  

Saturday's rally has not been sanctioned by Moscow city authorities.  That means that those who participate in and/or organize the rally are subject to massive fines and/or arrest.  Navalny faces up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted on the theft charges.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs