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Symbolic Image Of Russian Navalny Rallies Sells For 2 Million Rubles

Dmitry Markov photo has become a symbol of the recent protests, the biggest anti-government rallies in years.
Dmitry Markov photo has become a symbol of the recent protests, the biggest anti-government rallies in years.

A picture taken at a police station by noted Russian photographer Dmitry Markov, which turned into an online symbol of the mass rallies in support of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, has been sold for 2 million rubles ($26,800).

Markov wrote on Facebook over the weekend that the picture showing a riot-police officer sitting at a desk with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin hanging on the wall behind him had been sold at an online auction to a person, whom he named only as Yekaterina.

According to Markov, the money will be given to two groups focusing on the rights of protesters in the country -- OVD-Inform and Apology of Protest.

Markov took the picture when he was detained along with hundreds of protesters on February 2 and taken to the police station in Moscow.

On that day, a court in Moscow found Navalny guilty of violating the terms of his suspended sentence relating to an embezzlement case that he has called politically motivated.

The court converted the sentence to 3 1/2 years in prison. Given credit for time already spent in detention, the court said the Kremlin critic would have to serve 2 years and 8 months behind bars.

The ruling sparked protests across the country, with more than 1,400 people being detained by police on February 2.

Speaking to RFE/RL earlier last week, Markov said that his picture was "very illustrative."

"To get a full idea [of the picture] it would be great to see people who were sitting in front of that riot-police officer. There were young people, some around 25 years old, and the [police officer] is obviously close to 50. And he is ashamed, he is afraid to show his face, he is wearing a balaclava indoors even though it was very hot there," Markov said, adding that one could feel that the officer was scared.

Navalny was arrested at a Moscow airport on January 17 upon his arrival from Germany, where he was being treated for a poison attack in Siberia in August, for which he blamed the Kremlin.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

The 44-year-old opposition politician's arrest has sparked mass protests across Russia.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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