Udaltsov Ends 26-Day Hunger Strike

Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov gestures as he attends a court hearing in Moscow.

Jailed opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov ended a 26-day hunger strike on Tuesday, Interfax reported.

He lost 15 kilograms and is suffering from heart and kidney problems as a result of the strike, which he begun in protest of his conviction and sentencing, Russian media reported Tuesday, citing his lawyer.

Udaltsov, who had consumed only water since being sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison based on a conviction of “organizing riots” at a Moscow rally, is a leader of the Left Front, a socialist organization that has adamantly opposed the prolonged rule of President Vladimir Putin.

“The skin on his cheeks is taut. His clothes are hanging off him,” lawyer Violetta Volkova tweeted Monday.

Udaltsov was arrested soon after state TV broadcast a program saying he plotted with a Georgian political leader to foment riots in Moscow.

Human rights activists denounced Udaltsov’s trial as a mockery of justice and said the sentencing marked a virtual end to political freedom in Russia.

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