Russia’s election commission has announced that due to his criminal conviction, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny will not be allowed to run in the upcoming presidential election against incumbent president Vladimir Putin. Navalny was convicted of embezzlement this past winter for which he was sentenced to a 5-year suspended prison sentence.

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

According to a statement released today (Friday) by Russia’s election commission, Russian opposition leader Alexei Nevalny will not be allowed to run in the upcoming presidential race after he was found guilty of embezzlement this past February.

Nevalny has stated in the past that the embezzlement case, for which he was sentenced to a five-year suspended prison sentence, was organized in an effort to prevent him from running for office. Just two weeks ago the opposition leader was arrested after organizing mass demonstrations against the government in which thousands participated across Russia.

According to a police statement, hundreds of protesters were arrested, with at least 500 in St. Petersburg alone. Russia’s attorney general warned beforehand that the gatherings were illegal and that the police intended to take all necessary measures to prevent disorder, yet, Nevalny was not discouraged. In a post on his website supporting the anti-corruption demonstrations, Nevalny stated he wants to live in a modern democratic state in which taxes become roads and schools, not yachts or vineyards.

About 1,000 anti-government protestors were arrested in the last round of demonstrations held this past March ahead of the upcoming elections due to take place in a year during which the incumbent President Vladimir Putin is expected to win. Nevalny has also gone up against the current prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, after a video of him accusing Medvedev of corruption went viral.