Moscow extends crackdown on troublesome civic figures

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Moscow extends crackdown on troublesome civic figures

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There was a double strike on Tuesday on Russian figures whose faces do not fit in the hard-line climate now being diffused from the Kremlin, with a Moscow court finding opposition figure Aleksei Navalny guilty of slander.

The court upheld an allegation the anti-corruption campaigner had called a Moscow municipal deputy a “drug addict” on Twitter, and fined him more than 6,000 euros.

Also under fire was the founder of the Russian equivalent of Facebook, VKontakte. Pavel Durov had run the company since its inception, and while staying out of politics has always refused to bow to demands for censorship.

Now two of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, Igor Sechin, the boss of oil giant Rosneft, and metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov, have used their shareholdings in VKontakte to oust Durov.

Durov sold his remaining 12 percent shareholding in January, and insists he has been unjustifiably fired as the Kremlin seeks to crack down on social media it has previously left alone.