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Charges Filed Against Yaroslavl Mayor

National Control movement leader Igor Blochin (right) and other supporters turned out on July 3 to demonstrate support in Yaroslavl for Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov following the latter's arrest.
Russian investigators have filed corruption charges against Kremlin foe and Yaroslavl Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov along with four of his subordinates.

A spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, said on July 4 that the five are charged with extortion and taking bribes.

"The investigation is forcefully moving forward," Markin said. "It includes searches, which have so far led to the confiscation of a total of 35 million roubles in cash that likely belonged to Urlashov. As we have rightly presumed, this most probably is not the only criminal activity that the mayor of Yaroslavl had been involved in."

A court hearing was expected to determine whether to keep the five men in pretrial detention.

Urlashov denies the allegations and has suggested that they are politically motivated.

"Once they had failed to achieve [my removal] through two negative evaluations of my job [by the city council], they resorted to such [police] operations," Urlashov said of his political enemies in a conversation with RFE/RL's Russian Service just before his detention.

KREMLIN GADFLY: Russian Mayor Who Left Ruling Party's Plight Just Got Tougher

Yevgeny Urlashov
Yevgeny Urlashov
Urlashov is the only opposition mayor of a major Russian city, since winning the Yaroslavl mayoral race in April 2012 after quitting the ruling United Russia party and running as an independent.

He intended to head the regional list of the Civil Platform party of billionaire-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov in the upcoming election to the legislative assembly of the Yaroslavl region in September.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and RFE/RL's Russian Service