Alexey Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and prominent leader in Russia's political opposition, has asked the county's Supreme Court to review a criminal verdict against him in October 2013 that resulted in a five-year probation sentence. Navalny has also filed an appeal with the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, arguing that the conviction is a political move designed to bar him from running in Russia's 2018 presidential race.
Navalny's appeal follows an inquiry by the European Court of Human Rights in July that found a connection between his anti-corruption activism and the criminal cases against him. The court declined, however, to say outright that Navalny's convictions are politically motivated.
Thanks to a law signed by Vladimir Putin in February 2014, former convicts (even those with suspended sentences) cannot run for political office for 10 years after their prison or probation terms expire. (For more serious crimes, this prohibition lasts 15 years.)
Navalny, who won 27 percent of the vote in the 2013 Moscow mayoral race, is currently serving out two suspended criminal sentences, one five-year sentence handed down in July 2013 for embezzling roughly half a million dollars of lumber from a state-owned company, and another three-and-a-half-year sentence handed down in December 2014 for embezzling money from a subsidiary of the cosmetics company Yves Rocher. Navalny says he is innocent of all charges, which are widely regarded outside Russia to be politicized.
Based on Russia's 2014 law and Navalny's criminal record, he will not be eligible to run for elected office until mid-2028, pending any new convictions or reductions in his probation. He would be 52 years old by then.