Opposition leader barred from leaving Russia: report
One of Russia's most prominent Kremlin foes Boris Nemtsov has been barred from leaving the country for six months because of his failure to abide by an earlier court ruling, news reports said Thursday.
Nemtsov told various Russian media from Strasbourg, where he was attending a democracy forum, that he learned of the decision by telephone Wednesday from his attorney.
"I will return to Russia, even though they are suggesting that I stay where I am," Nemtsov told the Grani.ru website.
"I am certain that this is (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin's revenge for Parnas," Nemtsov added in reference to the small opposition party that he co-leads and which was denied official registration last month.
A first deputy prime minister under former president Boris Yeltsin, Nemtsov has irritated Russian authorities with his constant criticism of Putin and enjoys only marginal support at home.
But he appears often in Western discussions of Russian democracy issues and often travels abroad to describe the difficulties facing his supporters.
The court case stems from a pamphlet Nemtsov co-authored entitled "Putin. Results. 10 Years."
It mentions the natural gas trader Gennady Timchenko and alleges that he knew Putin before he came to power and used those ties to turn himself into one of Russia's richest men.
Timchenko has denied knowing Putin as well as Nemtsov alleges and has won several similar decisions in Russian courts.
A Moscow judge earlier ordered Nemtsov to publish a correction. But the Kommersant business daily said the one that appeared in its March 26 edition was judged to have had the wrong headline.
There was no immediate confirmation of the ruling from the court authorities mentioned by Nemtsov.
© 2011 AFP