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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid