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Alexey Navalny


A photo of twin toilets in a cubicle at a Sochi Olympics venue has caused a Twitter storm in Russia.

The picture from the Biathlon Centre tweeted by BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg in Moscow was picked up by opposition leader Alexey Navalny among others.

Alexey Navalny queried how the budget for the games, said to be $50bn (1,700 billion roubles), had been spent.

The photo caused disbelief and much hilarity, with some linking it to the recent debate over gay rights.

Twin toilets in a cubicle at Sochi Olympics venue

Twin toilets in a cubicle at Sochi Olympics venue

Steve Rosenberg tweeted: “Seeing double in the Gentlemen’s Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre.”

Retweeting the photo, Alexey Navalny commented: “This is a men’s toilet in a Sochi Olympics media centre for 1.5bn roubles [$45 million].”

Others joked about Russia’s controversial law on “gay propaganda”, which led to calls from international campaigners to boycott February’s games.

The Biathlon Centre was completed nearly two years ago, with investment from the Russian state gas company Gazprom.

Alexei Navalny’s jail sentence for embezzlement has been suspended by a Russian court, allowing him to go free.

However, Alexei Navalny’s conviction is likely to prevent him running in the next presidential election.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in July but released pending the appeal.

He has always denied the charges, which relate to his time as an adviser to the governor of the Kirov region.

His conviction bars him from running for elected office. Navalny has said in the past he would like to stand for president.

But it appears Alexei Navalny’s five-year sentence would rule him out of running for the next presidential election, due to take place in spring 2018.

Alexei Navalny's jail sentence for embezzlement has been suspended by a Russian court

Alexei Navalny’s jail sentence for embezzlement has been suspended by a Russian court

Alexei Navalny vowed to continue in politics, accusing the authorities of prosecuting him for political reasons, and said he would appeal against the sentence.

While on bail, he stood for mayor of Moscow, coming second and nearly managing to force the Kremlin’s candidate into a run-off.

In July, Alexei Navalny was found guilty of heading a group that embezzled timber worth 16 million roubles ($500,000) from the Kirovles state timber company while working as an adviser to Kirov’s governor, Nikita Belykh.

Speaking after the appeal verdict, he said: “It’s clear for me that the authorities are trying by all means to hound me out of politics, coming up with some restrictions and fabricated cases.

“One thing is for sure, they will not succeed in pushing me and my allies out of political life.”

Alexei Navalny could be seen using a mobile phone bearing a sticker which mocked Russia’s current President, Vladimir Putin, as a thief.

The veteran anti-corruption campaigner hugged his wife, Yulia, who has travelled from Moscow to Kirov with him for his court appearances.

Co-defendant Pyotr Ofitserov, who was jailed for four years, also had his sentence suspended on Wednesday.

Alexei Navalny took 27% of the mayoral vote in Moscow against the Kremlin-backed incumbent, Sergei Sobyanin, who officially scraped through on the first round with 51% – a result the opposition leader disputes.

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