Protest Leader Udaltsov Fined Over ‘Illegal Rally’

Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov was fined 1,000 rubles ($30) on Thursday for his part in rolling protests which followed Vladimir Putin’s presidential inauguration earlier this month.

Police said that Left Front leader Udaltsov attempted to hold an illegal demonstration in the wake of Putin’s return to the Kremlin for a third term.

Writing on his Twitter account, Udaltsov denied any wrongdoing and said he would appeal the decision.

“I categorically disagree with this ruling. It’s nonsense,” he wrote.

Udaltsov spent 15 days in jail on charges of disobeying police orders after being detained in the early hours of May 8.

Fellow opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who served a 15-day sentence on the same charges earlier this month, was also fined 1,000 rubles on Wednesday.

This might be the last time such a comparatively small fine is imposed as Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, is preparing to vote on a controversial new bill which could see a massive increase in fines for unapproved rallies.

Socialite television presenter Ksenia Sobchak has said previously that Kremlin sources had told her that authorities plan to jail both Udaltsov and Navalny for two years over the downtown Moscow riots ahead of Putin’s May 7 inauguration.

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