Anti-Putin Facebook page blocked

Page had called for a protest in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who has been sharply critical of Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Mikhail Voskresensky/Reuters

Opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who has been sharply critical of Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Mikhail Voskresensky/Reuters

 

Russia has blocked a Facebook page calling for a protest in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as the Kremlin tightens its control of the internet and social media.

The move capped a week of high drama in Russia, where a dramatic collapse in the value of the rouble triggered widespread alarm and rattled the population’s confidence in president Vladimir Putin.

The Facebook page was set up after prosecutors on Friday asked for a 10-year jail sentence for Mr Navalny on embezzlement charges that critics say are politically motivated.

As of Sunday afternoon, 12,000 people had said they would attend the protest, which was called for January 15th, the date of the verdict in Mr Navalny’s case. A separate Facebook page, set up after the first one was blocked, had attracted 15,700 promises of attendance.

Mr Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger sharply critical of Mr Putin, was a central figure in the 2011-2012 protests that shook Moscow after the most recent presidential elections. Last year he ran unsuccessfully for Moscow mayor, but since February has been living under house arrest amid a series of investigations into his affairs.

The move comes amid a growing crackdown on the Russian opposition. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014)