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Jailed Russian Opposition Activist Continues Hunger Strike In Hospital

Russian opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov (file photo)
Russian opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov (file photo)

MOSCOW -- The jailed leader of Russia's opposition Levy Front (Left Front) movement, Sergei Udaltsov, is continuing a hunger strike after being rushed to a hospital on August 19 after being diagnosed with dehydration, his wife says.

Anastasia Udaltsova said on August 20 that her husband was continuing his "dry" hunger strike, refusing food and water, adding that "necessary substances are being added to his body intravenously."

Udaltsov began "a dry hunger strike, protesting against raising the retirement age" on August 14 right after a Moscow court found him guilty of repeatedly violating public gathering regulations, and sentenced him to 30 days in jail.

Tens of thousands of Russians rallied across the country on July 28 against the government's proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 for men by 2028 and from 55 to 63 for women by 2034.

Udaltsov was one of the organizers of rallies in Moscow, where thousands protested against the proposed reforms.

Russian officials have warned for years that the pension age needs to be raised to take into account the country's demographics, labor force, and projected budgets.

President Vladimir Putin's public approval ratings have slipped noticeably since the plan was announced in June, sparking outrage across Russia.

Udaltsov, a prominent Russian opposition activist, was released from prison in August 2017 after serving a 4 1/2-year prison sentence he received over a May 2012 protest against Putin and the Russian government.

In that case, Udaltsov was convicted of organizing "mass disorder" after the 2012 protest broke into violence. Demonstrators and police blame each other for the clashes.

With reporting by Interfax
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