Putin critic Navalny seeks permission to visit Sochi

MOSCOW Sun Feb 2, 2014 9:36am EST

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny speaks during an interview with Reuters in Moscow January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny speaks during an interview with Reuters in Moscow January 27, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who is restricted from travelling outside Moscow, has requested permission to visit Sochi during the Winter Olympics, according to his blog and his press secretary.

Navalny has criticized spending on the games, which he said last week had already reached $50 billion - five times more than the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Navalny, who led anti-Putin street protests in 2011-2012, has been restricted from leaving Moscow since his conviction in July of organizing the theft of 16 million roubles ($500,000) from a timber firm in the Kirov region in 2009.

Navalny, who described last summer's trial as revenge by President Vladimir Putin for his challenging the Kremlin, was served with new theft and money laundering charges in October.

On Friday he requested from Russia's Investigative Committee permission to visit Sochi for three days, partly to look at construction of the facilities, according to a posting of a document on his blog.

"He made an official request to the Investigative Committee," said his press secretary. "They should answer in about a week but will likely refuse."

Navalny's aim in attending the Games, which open in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 7, was to "observe what is really happening there, to check how the games are going, to see if there are some evidence of corruption".

No immediate comment from the Investigative Committee was available on the weekend.

(Reporting by Megan Davies; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Comments (3)
kommy wrote:
Why would anyone let this poo-poo face go to Olympics. He is a criminal under house arrest, and yes, Russia spent 50 billions on Olympics, but only about 8 of them directly on games, the rest of them went on infrastructure like roads, airports, sea line, energy projects, railroads,mountain tunnels.

Out of 8 billions, more than half was from private investors.

Suck on your thumb Navalny, at the comfort of your home!

Feb 02, 2014 10:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
leesik wrote:
@kommy – such an intelligent comment…. No wonder why putin and his gang of thieves continues to rule with such an iron hand. Anyone who speaks out about the corruption upon which their vertical system is based is arrested on trumped up charges and silly trolls like you parrot the party line. Good work my Nashisty friend. I’m sure your reward will be great…..

Feb 03, 2014 9:20am EST  --  Report as abuse
leesik wrote:
The real reason Navalny will never be allowed to set foot in Sochi is because of his exposure of the blatant corruption, theft, and disregard for the local population and environment.



Feb 03, 2014 9:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
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