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Half of Russians Know Navalny After Election, Poll Says

In March, only 35 percent of Russians knew who Alexei Navalny was, a poll indicated. valya v

More than 50 percent of Russians know who Alexei Navalny is and what he is being charged with in the KirovLes case, a Levada Center poll indicates.

Out of those who are aware of the opposition leader, 49 percent know about the case and 6 percent follow it closely, according to the survey, which was carried out in September among 1,600 Russians.

In July, Navalny was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted on charges of stealing timber from the KirovLes company in 2009, which allegedly cost the state $490,000. The decision was immediately appealed by his defense lawyers and Navalny was allowed to take part in the Moscow mayoral elections on Sept. 8, when he raked in a credible 27 percent of the vote, finishing in second place behind Sergei Sobyanin.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents knew about Navalny's election results, while only 22 percent had heard of opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman, who won the elections in Yekaterinburg.

In March, only 35 percent of Russians knew who Navalny was, while a poll by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center in April showed that only 14 percent knew that he was with the opposition.

"Over 50 percent recognition is a fantastic success, bearing in mind that Navalny has become famous without having constant access to the television or large financial resources," said Leonid Gozman, head of Perspectiva public charity fund, Vedomosti reported.

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed thought that the KirovLes case was opened due to suspicion of unlawful actions by Navalny when he was an aide to the Kirov region's governor, up from 20 percent in August. Also, the number of people who thought that he was prosecuted for revealing corruption has declined over the last two years from 54 to 45 percent.

No margin of error was given for the poll.

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