Will Englund
The Washington Post
July 19, 2013

Alexei Navalny, the blogging scourge of corrupt Russian officials, may have been led off in handcuffs Thursday after being sentenced to five years in prison on dubious charges, but it turns out the charismatic protest leader still had some clout.

Somebody in a position to do something about it must have decided that Navalny was more valuable — or less dangerous — as a free man than as an incarcerated one.

So prosecutors in the city of Kirov went to court and told a judge he should be released until his appeals can be heard. Even though prominent lawyers here said such a step was unprecedented, Russian judges tend to be receptive to prosecutors’ requests. And on Friday, Navalny walked free — for now.

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