EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russian Blogger/Anti-Corruption Campaigner Faces Criminal Investigation

Posted by Info on 11/05/2011

Prosecutors in Moscow have opened a criminal investigation into anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. If convicted he could face up to five years in jail.

The 34-year-old lawyer said the accusation was a fabrication by the security services to punish him for allegations that $4bn (2.5bn) has been siphoned off from oil firm Transneft and of murky dealings at state bank VTB.

Two years ago Navalny began a crusade to expose embezzlement of public funds by bureaucrats and their business allies. He took minority shareholdings in large state companies to seek transparency over their opaque ownership structures and used court appeals to highlight questionable transactions.
In December he set up a website called RosPil, from the Russian word “pilit”, which means “to saw” or figuratively “to saw off” cash. The site publicises government tenders it considers to be suspect such as a regional minister’s recent request for a £190,000 Audi saloon.

Navalny provoked special ire earlier this year when he called United Russia, the dominant political party headed by the prime minister, Vladimir Putin, a “party of swindlers and cheats”, a nickname that spread like wildfire through young liberals dissatisfied with the country’s ruling elite.

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