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Russian Opposition Leader Faces Smuggling Charges


Olga Kurnosova (file photo)

Olga Kurnosova (file photo)

ST. PETERSBURG -- The leader of the United Civic Front's branch in St. Petersburg has been officially charged with smuggling, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

In October, police searched Olga Kurnosova as she rode the train from Astrakhan to St. Petersburg and found a jar of caviar, which they said was illegally produced by poachers.

An investigator from Astrakhan has now come to St. Petersburg and officially charged Kurnosova.

Kurnosova said that the charge is politically motivated, and that the Russian authorities are trying to put pressure on her so she curtails her political activities.

The United Civic Front, which is headed by former chess champion Garry Kasparov, was established in 2005 and is a part of the Russian opposition coalition group Other Russia.

Kurnosova could face two years in prison if found guilty.
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