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Jailed Opposition Leader Could Face More Serious Charges

Published: May 10, 2012 (Issue # 1707)

  • Protesters have sat through the night in a continuous round-the-clock protest since Monday.
    Photo: Howard Amos / The St. Petersburg Times

Demonstrators in Moscow continued their non-stop marathon protest overnight, gathering as many as 1,500 people after two prominent opposition leaders were given 15-day jail sentences, but anti-corruption bloggerAlexei Navalnycould end up facing even more serious charges.

Navalny's lawyer Vadim Kobzev wrote in Twitter that the opposition activist would be questioned in connection with criminal charges for inciting a riot during the May 6 protest on Bolotnaya Ploshchad.

The Investigative Committee said Monday it was opening a criminal investigation under criminal codes for inciting a riot and harming a law enforcement officer, charges that carry a maximum penalty of three and five years in jail, respectively.

Both Navalny and Left-Front leader Sergei Udaltsov were given 15 days in jail on charges of disobeying a police officer Wednesday, sparking outrage among opposition activists.

After a rally on Lubyanskaya Ploshchad in front of the headquarters of the Federal Security Service on Wednesday, protesters began gathering at Chistiye Prudy and the Alexander Garden in a continuation of the mobile protests that have been ongoing since PresidentVladimir Putin's inauguration Monday.

The numbers at Chistiye Prudy grew as high as 1,500 people, and about 50 protesters made it through the night to outlast even police buses, the last of which rolled away mid-morning Thursday, Interfax reported. Protesters cheered as the last police bus left.

A group of writers and musicians, including prominent opposition figures Boris Akunin and Dmitry Bykov, has also announced they will take part in an opposition "writers' walk" to take place in downtown Moscow on Sunday. The format mirrors the "people's walk," which is the name given by opposition figures to their protest processions. Demonstrators have said they do not need permission from city authorities to walk in groups around the city since they do not chant slogans or carry signs.

Meanwhile, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the number of police officers injured at Monday's protest where about 300 were arrested has been raised to more than 30, Interfax reported.



Friday, Aug. 29

Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.

Saturday, Aug. 30

Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).

Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.

Sunday, Aug. 31

The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.

Monday, Sept. 1

Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.

Tuesday, Sept. 2

Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.

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