Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny walked free on Sunday after a 20-day jail term for organising protests against President Vladimir Putin.
Navalny, who has declared his intention to stand for president in 2018, was released in a secret location in Moscow to evade media attention.
“Hi. I’m out,” Navalny wrote on Instagram, posting a picture of himself on a street. A photographer working for his team later posted photographs of him meeting colleagues at the office of his anti-corruption foundation.
During Navalny’s time behind bars, the Kremlin race he hopes to contest has heated up with television star Ksenia Sobchak throwing in her hat. Navalny posted he was “ready to work” and later met supporters at a rally in the southern city of Astrakhan — around 1,300 kms southeast of Moscow — which was allowed to go ahead by the authorities.
He told the 300 who gathered in the rain, “Do we need this kind of power that makes fun of us? No, and that’s why I’m a candidate, the right candidate for Astrakhan.”
Navalny wrote jokingly that while in jail he had read 20 books, learnt a few words of the Kyrgyz language and drunk 80 litres of tea. Supporters of Navalny hung a banner reading, “It’s time to get rid of Putin and time to elect Navalny.” The charismatic lawyer informally launched a presidential bid in December last year and has since opened campaign offices and held rallies countrywide to consolidate supporters.
Source: News agencies