Russia’s leading opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been found guilty of embezzlement, Russia media report.
A judge was still reading the verdict in the city of Kirov, but news agencies said it was clear in his remarks that Mr Navalny had been convicted.
Even a suspended sentence would bar the outspoken critic of President Putin from running for president next year.
Mr Navalny has denied the accusations, saying the case is politically motivated.
Navalny’s team thanked everyone for support via TWITTER , adding that it the best one can do at the moment.
Launching the presidential campaign this weekend in Lyon – France second biggest city and major centre for banking, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries – the leader of Front National Marine Le Pen promised to organise a referendum on the European Union membership, following the UK example.
In her speech #Marine gave a negative characteristic to the European Union, incapable to fulfill its promises on prosperity, and even less on security, becoming simply a “nightmare”for French citizens. The event gathered a considerable audience of three thousand people, approximately two thousands more could not enter, and over the weekend all together 10.000 supporters were involved in related activities.
A day earlier Lyon welcomed the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who upgraded his status after the disgraced front-runner Francois Fillon lost 16% in approval polls. On contrary to #Marine, Macron favors closer ties with the #EU, namely in security and defence.
Although as a Finance minister Macron has urged the need to reform euro, and has criticized the current status quo: “The truth is that we must collectively recognise that the euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms,” Macron said in his speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin. “It has not provided Europe with full international sovereignty against the dollar on its rules. It has not provided Europe with a natural convergence between the different member states.” He has never questioned French membership in the organisation.
Based on opinion polls Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron as highly probable contestants in the second round of the presidential elections. While the Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon would hardly be able to overcome the unpopularity of his party in 78 days left before the vote; and after Francois Fillon self-inflicted downfall the centre-right Republicans entered a profound crisis, making a swift recovery almost impossible.