Russian Opposition Leader Spared Jail

    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny looks on before a court hearing in Kirov October 16, 2013. Convicted at a trial he describes as Vladimir Putin's revenge for his political challenge, Navalny faces five years in prison if his appeal against a theft conviction is rejected on Wednesday. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) - RTX14DHP

    Maxim Shemetov/Reuters,© Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

    A Russian appeals judge on Wednesday suspended the sentence of anti-corruption crusader and blogger Aleksei Navalny, granting him freedom but also prohibiting him from traveling outside Moscow. Navalny, who had an unexpectedly strong showing in Moscow’s mayoral election last month, said that while he is happy to be spared jail, Wednesday’s verdict is “nothing to celebrate” since it hinders his political career. In case that many considered rigged, Navaly was sentenced in July on embezzlement charges, but he used a window of freedom during his appeals case to run for mayor—and he finished second, with 27 percent of the vote. Wednesday’s ruling seemed to indicate that the Kremlin is willing to let the opposition free—if they stop criticizing Putin, that is.

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