Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday called on his supporters to hold protest rallies across the country on June 12, which is the annual Russia Day public holiday.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been jailed for 15 days for resisting police orders during mass protests on Sunday.
Mr Navalny was one of at least 500 people who were detained after the protests.
The court in Moscow earlier fined him the minimum 20,000 roubles ($350) for organising the banned protests.
Russia’s main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been arrested at an anti-corruption protest he organised in the capital, Moscow.
Thousands of people have joined rallies nationwide, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over corruption allegations.
Most of the marches have not been authorised by the authorities.
Police have been deployed in large numbers in Moscow where dozens of other protesters have also been detained.
TV pictures showed demonstrators chanting “Down with Putin!”, “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a thief!”.
Russia’s main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been found guilty of embezzlement, local media report.
A judge is still reading the verdict in the city of Kirov, but news agencies said it was clear in his remarks that Mr Navalny had been convicted.
Even a suspended sentence would bar him from running for president next year.
An outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, Mr Navalny has denied the accusations, saying the case is politically motivated.
You would think that after already getting into hot water over corruption allegations linked to a $600,000 watch, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov might want to keep a low profile.
But the longtime Kremlin official’s extravagant lifestyle is once again being discussed in Russia — this time over a trip that he allegedly took on a luxury yacht with his family and friends off the coast of the Italian island of Sardinia.
The allegations come from a recent article by Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, who, citing an unidentified source, said he was tipped off about Peskov’s recent vacation with his new wife, Olympic figure-skating champion Tatiana Navka, and others aboard the yacht, which costs an estimated $390,000 per week.
The luxury vessel, called the Maltese Falcon, is advertised as one of the most expensive yachting experiences in the world and comes with add-ons like jet-skis, kayaks, and even small sailing boats.
Navalny used an online yacht tracking service and followed geo-tagged social media posts from Peskov’s friend, former Moscow district official Oleg Mitvol, as well as Peskov’s stepdaughter, who can be seen wearing a bathrobe with “Maltese Falcon” written on it.
Navalny says he has corroborated his source’s claims and now is demanding that Peskov, a state employee, explain how he could afford such an expensive trip on his public salary.
“Dmitry Peskov would need to save up his full salary for three years just to afford this yacht for seven days,” wrote Navalny.
Even though Navalny has provided evidence linking Peskov’s friends and family to the yacht, he has so far not shown proof of Peskov himself being there. Instead,
Navalny wrote it is “impossible to imagine that Peskov’s 15-year-old stepdaughter and the 49-year-old Mitvol are spending time together by themselves.”
In response to the new allegations, Peskov has already gone on the defensive,telling the Russian newspaper RBK on Monday that he is currently in Sicily and has not rented the yacht. “I’m renting a hotel,” he reportedly said.
After wedding photographs circulating on social media showed Peskov kissing his bride while wearing a watch estimated to cost more than $600,000, Navalny jumped on the corruption scandal. Peskov denied the allegations and said that the watch was a wedding present from his wife.
However, Navalny then published a photo from three months before the wedding from Peskov’s daughter’s Instagram account showing the Kremlin official wearing the exact same watch.
Father says Kara-Murza diagnosed with kidney failure after being admitted to hospital in Moscow on Tuesday evening. A Russian opposition activist has been taken to hospital in Moscow after a sudden illness.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, who works for the Open Russia movement founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the oligarch and Putin critic who now lives in Zurich, was admitted after a sharp drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness.
Doctors initially thought he could have been poisoned, Vadim Prokhorov, a lawyer for the RPR Parnas opposition party, told the newspaper Kommersant. Kara-Murza is a member of the political council of the party, which had been led by Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov until his death in February.
Doctors later diagnosed Kara-Murza with kidney failure, his father told RBC newspaper.
“The deputy head doctor of the hospital came out and told us that everything was fine with his heart, his lungs, his stomach, etc. It all had to do with his kidneys,” he said. “It could have been spoiled yogurt or something else.”
Although Kara-Murza’s father ruled out deliberate poisoning, colleagues had expressed doubts about the sudden illness, which comes after the killing of Nemtsov and reported pressure on opposition activists.
Open Russia project coordinator Maria Baronova told the Guardian his illness was suspicious and said “various activities surrounding public people from Open Russia look strange”, but declined to elaborate.
Opposition journalist Alexander Ryklin wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that he had just spoken with Kara-Murza and that the doctors “suspect poisoning”.
Kara-Murza’s father previously told Kommersant that his son’s condition could be explained by an allergy or a high-stress lifestyle “with irregular meals, little sleep”.
Kara-Murza had been at the offices of the Russian Legal Information Agency, a state-owned legal news agency, on Tuesday when he fell ill and was taken away by ambulance, his father said.
Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, who was given two suspended sentences on what many see as politically motivated charges, said on Twitter that he had seen Kara-Murza a few days ago, adding:
“He didn’t complain about his health and was entirely energetic [like usual].”
Russian police raided the Open Russia offices in April. According to a copy of their search warrant later, police suspected the organisation of printing leaflets to be handed out at a planned opposition rally that called for “extremist activities”.
Two days ago there was a screening in Moscow of a 26-minute film Open Russia film, entitled Family. It alleges that Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov is guilty of widespread human rights abuses, presides over a personal army of 80,000 fighters and skims off money from the federal budget.
Kara-Murza was also involved in writing a report into the war in Ukraine, conceived by Nemtsov, who was shot dead outside the Kremlin in February.
At the time of his death, Nemtsov was planning a dossier exposing Vladimir Putin’s secret war in the east of Ukraine. The 65-page report entitled Putin and the War was completed by Nemtsov’s friends.
It alleges that Russian troops have taken part in the conflict – with at least 220 killed – and that Russia has covertly supplied the rebels with military hardware, intelligence and training. Putin denies Russian forces have been involved in the war.
Kara-Murza lives in Moscow and New York, where his three children are based. His previous projects have included a documentary likening Russia’s opposition to Putin with Soviet dissidents who protested in the 1960s.
Kara-Murza took Vladimir Bukovsky, a prominent enemy of the KGB who spent 12 years in Soviet labour camps and psychiatric facilities, to New York last year.
* Putin secretive about his family, private life
* Media focus on what may be daughter’s role
MOSCOW, Jan 29 (Reuters) – One of Vladimir Putin’s main opponents may have broken a taboo by publishing what he says is the pseudonym used by one the Russian president’s daughters to stay out of the spotlight.
Putin has made his and his family’s private life little less than a state secret, keeping his rarely-photographed daughters Yekaterina, 28, and Maria, 29, out of sight and managing his divorce with the minimum fuss.
But opposition blogger Alexei Navalny on Thursday published on his Facebook page an online report which identified a certain Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova as the head of an organization working with Moscow State University.
A separate report on Wednesday by RBC, an independent multi-media holding, stated Tikhonova was among those heading a $1.7 billion project to build new University facilities but it did not make any connection between her and Putin.
Navalny wrote on his Facebook page: “RBC (they are cool!) yesterday found Putin’s daughter in the Scientific Council of Moscow State University.”
A source close to Moscow State University confirmed Tikhonova was Putin’s daughter, telling Reuters on condition of anonymity: “Yes, it is her.”
Tikhonova could not be reached for comment.
The Kremlin often brushes aside questions about Putin’s private life, defending his right it privacy. Asked about the woman’s identity, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I don’t know who she is.”
Asked whether Putin’s daughter works for Moscow State University, he answered: “I don’t know. It’s not my job. I deal with the president, not with his children.”
$1.7 BILLION PROJECT
RBC, which has a television channel, a newspaper and Internet portal, wrote on Wednesday about a development project under which Moscow State University, one of the country’s most prestigious, would be expanded.
Under the headline “Who stands behind the MSU expansion”, it wrote that Tikhonova was in charge of Innopraktika, an organisation that was helping prepare the $1.7 billion project.
RBC did not make any direct link to Putin, although it said several influential businessmen who are his allies were involved in the project, and said Tikhonova had declined an interview request. Innopraktika declined to comment to Reuters.
Sergey Aleksashenko, a former official at the central bank who is now an opposition figure, questioned in a blog whether it was correct for Tikhonova to hold such a role in a business project if she is indeed Putin’s daughter.
“If this is true, it means that Vladimir Putin has crossed one of those ‘red lines’ he once drew for himself,” he wrote.
Putin is so secretive about his family that most Russians have no idea what his daughters look like. It is also not public knowledge where his ex-wife Lyudmila is living since their divorce was finalised last year.
Putin did, however, say in November that his daughters both live in Russia and he sees them once or twice a month.
Media reports last year said Maria had lived in the Netherlands until Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people, many of them Dutch nationals. She fled after the local mayor called for her deportation, though he later retracted his comments.
Putin’s spokesman denied rumours five years ago that Yekaterina planned to marry the son of a South Korean general.
Putin and Lyudmila announced their breakup to a television interviewer in June 2013 and they formally divorced in April last year after more than 30 years of marriage.
Putin said in 2008 there was no truth to a newspaper report that he was preparing to marry Olympic rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, who was born in 1983.
He told journalists at the time to keep their “snotty noses” out of his private affairs and the newspaper, Moskovsky Korrespondent, folded shortly afterwards.