Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who has organised
demonstrations that have dented Putin’s authority, dismissed the
charge as absurd and other opposition leaders accused Putin of
using KGB-style tactics to try to silence his critics.
Other moves which the opposition depict as a crackdown on
dissent since Putin began a six-year term in May include a law
increasing fines for protesters, closer controls of the Internet
and tighter rules for foreign-funded campaign and lobby groups.
Russia’s federal Investigative Committee said in a statement
that Navalny, 36, had been charged over the theft of timber from
a state firm while he was advising a regional governor in 2009,
and he could face a 10-year sentence.