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Opposition leader Aleksei Navalny

Russian authorities say they are investigating claims that opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s anticorruption foundation misused donations from its supporters.

The federal Investigative Committee’s press office said on January 16 that the probe is being conducted at the request of Russian State Duma Deputy Mikhail Degtyarev, who has accused the organization of defrauding supporters who contributed money to the group.

Investigative Committee officers launched a search on the foundation’s offices earlier in the day, though the agency’s press office said that operation was linked to a separate investigation into the alleged theft of funds from a liberal political party by a Navalny-owned company in 2007.

Navalny's supporters say he is being targeted by a Kremlin-driven campaign to punish him for leading opposition protests and spearheading anticorruption investigations against powerful allies of President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny was convicted of large-scale theft on December 30 and given a 3 1/2 year suspended sentence.

He was ordered to remain under house arrest until his appeals are exhausted, which he says is illegal.

With reporting by

ARCHA, Russia -- A Tatar activist says he has been fired from his job after helping organize protests against the jailing of a fellow activist in Russia's Tatarstan region.

Danis Safargali told RFE/RL that his employers at a fishing resort told him on January 16 that he had been dismissed for "systematic violation of work regulations."

Sarfargail helped organize coordinated single-person protests on January 14 in Tatarstan and three other regions that are home to non-Russian ethnic groups.

The protesters demanded the release of Tatar activist Rafis Kashapov, who has criticized Russia's annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Kashapov was arrested in December and charged with inciting ethnic, racial, and religious hatred via the Internet.

Safargali said he would appeal his dismissal in court.

He said that the papers were filed on January 15 but dated January 13.

He believes his employer back-dated the papers to show that he was fired a day before the protests because they feared being associated with him.

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