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Loose Lips Sink Fink

A screen grab from one of Yury Fink's YouTube videos
A screen grab from one of Yury Fink's YouTube videos
Remember Yury Fink, the Russian businessman who authored two online appeals to President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin?

A Moscow court has now sentenced him to six years in prison after a conviction of embezzling some $1.5 million.

Fink's case drew public attention this spring when the entrepreneur, freshly released on bail after a year in pretrial detention, posted two video clips on Youtube pleading to Medvedev and Putin to protect him and his company from raiders.

In the clip, he accused law-enforcement officials of seeking to take control of his company, which develops and sells transportation safety systems.

Fink -- a former musician who counts famous pop composer Igor Krutoi and singer Lev Leshchenko among his close friends -- also said he feared for his life if convicted.

The video's effects were quickly felt: Fink was swiftly brought back to pretrial detention on charges of "spreading false information through the media."

Russian Internet users may now think twice before asking their leaders a favor.

-- Claire Bigg

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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