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Anti-Corruption Blogger Navalny Files a Lawsuit Against Russian State Media

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny Maxim Stulov / Vedomosti

Opposition activist Alexei Navalny filed a lawsuit against state-owned media holding VGTRK and two of its employees for portraying him as a CIA agent in a primetime a documentary.

The lawsuit does not involve financial compensation, but demands for the claim to be publicly refuted, Navalny wrote in his blog on Wednesday.

The documentary, titled “The Browder Effect”, was aired on Russia's state-owned Rossiya 1 television channel in April. The program portrayed Navalny as a paid agent of William Browder, the head of investment company Hermitage Capital.

In the documentary, Browder gives Navalny orders via Skype to “change constitutional order” in Russia. The film's creators claim that information was sourced from CIA documents, including reports naming Navalny and Browder as CIA agents “Freedom and Solomon.” They also accuse Nalvany of involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, claiming that the politician received $300,000 to support the resulting “Magnitsky List.” The list banned dozens of Russians involved in the case from entering the United States.

In his lawsuit, Navalny insists that he has never used Skype name mentioned in the film and has never worked for CIA. He also denied involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

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