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Russian Actor, Kremlin Critic Yefremov's Eight-Year Prison Term Cut By Six Months

Russian actor Mikhail Yefremov attends a court hearing in Moscow on October 22.

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has cut by six months the eight-year prison term of actor Mikhail Yefremov, an outspoken Kremlin critic, who was sentenced for killing a person while driving under influence of alcohol.

The Moscow City Court late on October 22 ruled that Yefremov's sentence could be shortened because he paid financial compensation to the relatives of Sergei Zakharov, the man whom he killed in an auto accident in June.

Yefremov's lawyers said the ruling will be appealed.

Moscow's Presnensky district court sentenced Yefremov on September 8 to eight years in prison after finding him guilty of "causing a deadly traffic accident while driving under the influence."

Police say Yefremov was inebriated when he drove his car at high speed into an oncoming lane in central Moscow on the evening of June 8, hitting Zakharov's car.

Yefremov did not suffer any injuries in the accident, but the 57-year-old Zakharov was rushed to hospital with multiple injuries and died hours later.

After Zakharov was pronounced dead, Yefremov was charged and placed under house arrest.

Authorities later said that medical tests confirmed that Yefremov had traces of drugs, including cocaine, in his blood at the moment of the accident.

Performances by the 56-year-old Yefremov satirizing President Vladimir Putin and his policies have proven popular among Russians in recent years.