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Defiant Navalny Leaves Home -- To Buy Milk


Aleksei Navalny speaks after his sentencing on December 30 in Moscow.

Aleksei Navalny speaks after his sentencing on December 30 in Moscow.

Russian anticorruption crusader and opposition figure Aleksei Navalny left his apartment on January 6 in his latest act of defiance over a house arrest that he claims is no longer in force.

Navalny, 38, went out to buy milk.

He was intercepted on his way home by three men who escorted him back to his flat.

Navalny wrote about the incident on his blog and posted a photo taken by his wife showing the three men following him down the street.

Navalny, who has a law degree, has claimed that under Russian law house arrest can only be enforced against suspects or defendants in the absence of a verdict.

Navalny and his brother Oleg were convicted of fraud in a controversial trial at the end of December, and each was sentenced to three years and six months in prison.

Aleksei Navalny's sentence was suspended, meaning he could avoid jail time.

On January 6, Navalny also taunted the Kremlin over soaring inflation caused by the drastic decrease in the value of the ruble as the Russian economy, which is greatly dependent on hydrocarbon exports, bears the brunt of low world oil prices and Western sanctions for Moscow's role in the Ukrainian crisis.

Navalny, who has been under house arrest since February, wrote, "What a price for milk!" and mentioned that when his house arrest started a liter of milk was 45 rubles and now cost 75 rubles.

In a related story, a Moscow court on January 6 rejected a complaint from the prison service.

Navalny cut off his security bracelet on January 5 and posted of photograph of the cut bracelet on his blog.

Prison officers visited Navalny that same day to take photographs and add to a complaint filed earlier with the court.

Moscow court spokeswoman Yulia Petrova said the court ruled it could not "consider such documents after the verdict has been announced in a criminal case."

The prison service filed its original complaint on December 30 when Navalny ignored house arrest and attempted to attend a rally on Manezh Square in central Moscow.

Navalny is already serving a suspended five-year sentence on a separate 2013 theft conviction.

Navalny has been one of the most vocal opponents of President Vladimir Putin and his government.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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