Factbox: Court cases against Russian opposition, Kremlin critics

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail for theft on Thursday at a trial he and supporters said was politically motivated. Here are some details on other cases against opposition activists and Kremlin critics.


A prominent left-wing opposition activist, Udaltsov is under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of plotting mass disorder following violence at a protest in Moscow on May 6, 2012, the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a third term.

Udaltsov, 38, was sentenced to 240 hours of community service in 2012 after being convicted of assaulting a pro-Kremlin activist.


Twelve people, several of them students, are on trial on charges of rioting and violence against police at the protest on the eve of Putin’s inauguration. Most face up to eight years in jail if convicted, and many say they acted in self-defense.

One activist, Maxim Luzyanin, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison last November after being convicted, and several other people have been charged or are under investigation in connection with the protest.


Three women from all-women Punk protest band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail last August after being convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for singing a profanity-laced “punk prayer” against Putin’s close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow’s main cathedral.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, was released in October when her sentence was suspended on appeal. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, have had requests for parole and deferral of their sentences rejected by the courts.


The financial backer of two British newspapers, The Independent and London Evening Standard, was sentenced on July 2 to 150 hours of community service after being convicted of battery for punching a rival during a television talk show.

Lebedev, 53, also co-owns the campaigning Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta which has criticized Putin as well as a bank, National Reserve Corporation. He saw his trial as Putin’s revenge for his criticism of the government and campaigning against corruption.


A defector from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, Urlashov easily defeated the ruling party’s candidate in a mayoral election in the city of Yaroslavl last year but was arrested on July 3 on corruption charges.

Urlashov, 46, and allies said the arrests were intended to silence dissent and hurt his party’s chances in a September legislative election. Investigators say they have strong evidence he solicited a bribe.


Magnitsky, a lawyer who was arrested after accusing officials of a $230 million tax fraud, and died in jail in 2009 but was found guilty of tax evasion on July 11 in Russia’s first posthumous trial.

British investment fund head William Browder, who was Magnitsky’s former client and lobbied U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation to punish Russians believed involved in his death, was tried in absentia and sentenced to nine years in prison.


An opposition lawmaker, Gudkov spoke often at anti-Putin protests last year. He was expelled from parliament in September over allegations he ran a business while holding a seat in the lower house. Gudkov, 56, denies the accusations and could be jailed for two years if tried and convicted.


Russian authorities have informally accused opposition lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov, 37, of involvement in a scandal surrounding Skolkovo, a high-tech hub Russia is creating outside Moscow.

A deputy head of the Skolkovo Foundation resigned in April after being accused of illegally paying Ponomaryov $750,000 for lectures and a paper. Ponomaryov has denied any wrongdoing.

A former aide to Ponomaryov, Leonid Razvozzhayev, was charged along with Udaltsov last year with plotting riots. Razvozzhayev has said he was abducted in Ukraine, tortured and brought by force to Russia, where he is in jail pending trial.


All cases against opposition activists or government critics are held up against the fate suffered by Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia’s richest man. He was arrested in 2003 after he fell out with Putin, and remains in prison. He was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2005, and of theft and money-laundering at a new trial in 2010.

His $40-billion company, Yukos, was carved up and sold off, mainly into state hands. Kremlin critics say he is the victim of a campaign to punish him for funding Putin opponents, frighten other oligarchs and increase state control over oil revenues.

Reporting By Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Steve Gutterman and Michael Roddy