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Moscow Train Driver Fired For Supporting Navalny Gets Job Back

Many subway workers were fired after joining pro-Navalny protests online.

A Russian court has reinstated a Moscow subway train driver who was fired in May after he joined an online campaign to support jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny.

The driver, Vladimir Shlyapkin, said on August 16 that the court in Orekhovo-Zuyevo near the capital ordered the Moscow Metropolitan Company to allow him back to work, and pay compensation for the period of time he was unemployed as well as pay damages.

Shlyapkin said he plans to go back to work on August 17.

Last month, a court in another city near Moscow, Sergiyev Posad, ordered the Moscow Metropolitan Company to reinstate accountant Maksim Kirilenko, who was fired for a similar offense.

Overall, 42 workers at the company sued for being fired after they joined the online pro-Navalny campaign earlier this year.

A Moscow municipal lawmaker, Mikhail Timonov, said earlier that the Moscow subway administration had decided to fire hundreds of its workers, whose names or those of their relatives were among individuals who expressed their support to Navalny on the Internet.

The online campaign called "Freedom for Navalny" was launched in late March by the Kremlin critic's associates.

In mid-April, Navalny's associate Leonid Volkov said that a former worker at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation had "stolen" all personal data of those who registered at the pro-Navalny site.

Navalny was arrested on January 17 after returning to Russia from Germany, where he went through a life-saving treatment for poisoning with a Novichok-type nerve agent that he says was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin has denied any role in the incident, which was the latest of numerous attacks on Navalny.

More than 10,000 people were rounded up during nationwide rallies protesting Navalny's arrest organized in more than 100 Russian towns and cities on January 23 and January 31.

On February 2, Navalny was convicted of violating the terms of his suspended sentence related to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated. The remainder of Navalny's suspended sentence, 2 1/2 years, was then replaced by a real prison term.

That ruling sparked new protests that were also forcibly dispersed by police.

More than 1,400 people were detained by police in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities during those demonstrations.