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Russian Activist Fined For Having Caviar

A court in the southwestern Russian city of Astrakhan has fined a Russian activist for "illegally obtaining a jar of caviar," RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Olga Kurnosova, the leader of the United Civil Front in St. Petersburg, was detained by police on October 4 last year while traveling by train to St. Petersburg from Astrakhan where she had attended a conference organized by the Russian opposition movement Solidarnost (Solidarity).

The police found a jar of caviar in her baggage and said it might have been illegally produced. Kurnosova explained that the caviar was a gift from friends.

The jar was confiscated and Kurnosova was asked not to leave St. Petersburg until an investigation was completed.

In May, Kurnosova was officially charged with the purchase and/or distribution of illegally obtained items. Astrakhan's Lenin district court found her guilty on November 12 and ordered her to pay the equivalent of $175 as a fine.

Her lawyer, Boris Gruzd, told RFE/RL he will appeal the verdict. Kurnosova considers the charges against her to be politically motivated because of her political activism.