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Russian Nationalist Kremlin Critic Maltsev Says Granted Political Asylum In France

Vyacheslav Maltsev (center) takes part in a Russian opposition rally in Moscow in May 2017.

Vyacheslav Maltsev, an outspoken Kremlin critic and leader of an outlawed Russian nationalist opposition movement, says he received political asylum in France.

In a video posted on YouTube on November 26, Maltsev said that the "political leadership of France has granted me political asylum."

Russian authorities charged Maltsev in absentia with publicly calling for extremist activities after he fled Russia in July 2017.

Hundreds of supporters of Maltsev and members of his Artpodgotovka (Artillery Bombardment) movement were detained on November 5, 2017, at rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities ahead of the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Maltsev had declared the day the start of "new revolution" to topple President Vladimir Putin's government.

Artpodgotovka was banned in October 2017 by an order from a regional court in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

In his November 26 statement, Maltsev said he planned to fight the ban by filing a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

He said that France had provided him with "legal, physical, and other types of protection."

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