News / Europe

Top Russian Opposition Leader Appeals Conviction Ahead of Vote

Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny (2nd R) and his co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov (2nd L), stand near their wives, surrounded by supporters and journalists, after arriving from Kirov at a railway station in Moscow, July 20, 2013.
Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny (2nd R) and his co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov (2nd L), stand near their wives, surrounded by supporters and journalists, after arriving from Kirov at a railway station in Moscow, July 20, 2013.
Reuters
Russia's most prominent opposition leader and anti-graft blogger, Alexei Navalny, on Friday filed an appeal against his conviction and sentencing to five years in prison for embezzling funds from a state timber company.
 
Navalny, a stringent critic of President Vladimir Putin, denies any wrongdoing and says his conviction in the remote Russian city of Kirov is a Kremlin-driven attempt to stop his opposition activism and part of a wider crackdown on dissent.
 
“We have sent the appeal,” Navalny wrote on his twitter account and posted a receipt from the Russian post charging less than $3 to deliver the papers to the Kirov regional court, which has 30 days for a ruling from the moment it receives the papers.
 
Following his sentencing on July 18, Navalny was immediately taken under guard in the court room in a show of force but then unexpectedly released from arrest the next day pending appeal.
 
The appeal also covers a second convict in the case, Pyotr Ofitserov, who was sentenced to four years in prison as Navalny's accomplice in working out a scheme to steal some $500,000 from a state timber company.
 
Since his temporary release, Navalny, the face of the largest wave of street protests against Putin's 13-year rule that swept through Moscow and other big cities in Russia in 2011-2012, has been campaigning for Moscow mayor ahead of the Sept. 8 elections.
 
Opinion polls show him trailing far behind the favorite in the race, Sergei Sobyanin, a close Putin ally who is seeking a fresh term in the influential job.
 
Allies of the 37-year-old Navalny believe Sobyanin might have played a role in the unexpected release of their candidate to give credibility to the election.
 
They also hope Navalny would be more likely to avoid jail if he won the race, though his appeal is mainly limited to the urban middle-class and Internet-savvy youth.
 
“This indeed is a serious concern of many of our supporters. They say they could vote for Alexei but what for if he is subsequently jailed. We tell them that if Alexei wins this election the authorities will not dare to put him behind bars,” Leonid Volkov, Navalny campaign head, said on Friday.
 
The Kremlin denies exercising influence over the Russian judiciary or using it to persecute its political opponents. It also denies clamping down on dissent since Putin, a former KGB spy, came back for a third Kremlin term in mid-2012.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid