Moscow magistrates have dropped charges against opposition leader Boris Nemtsov after he called on residents of St. Petersburg to ignore municipal elections designed to secure its outgoing governor Russia’s No. 3 position.
Nemtsov was detained on August 14 and accused of “illegal propaganda” for calling on residents of two municipalities in Russia’s second largest city to “vote against all” in a vote that was ultimately won by Valentina Matviyenko, a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Opponents said the vote was rigged to allow Matviyenko to become speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.
The magistrates in Moscow said Nemtsov had not done anything illegal.
Matviyenko now looks set to fill the speaker’s vacant position.