02:42 - Source: CNN
Putin critic Navalny takes message to YouTube
CNN —  

The Russian Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the country’s opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, after the Russian Central Election Commission barred him from running in the 2018 presidential election, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Saturday.

“The Supreme Court of Russia finds no reason to satisfy these claims,” the judge said when he announced the decision, RIA reported

The Russian Central Election Commission had rejected Navalny’s candidacy for the vote – scheduled to take place on March 18 – because the Russian opposition leader is serving a suspended prison sentence.

Navalny, who says the conviction was politically motivated, confirmed the Supreme Court decision in a tweet and repeated his call for a voter strike to boycott the elections.

“Voter’s strike. We do not recognize elections without competition,” he said. Navalny also criticized the Supreme Court justices, saying that “judges like this should be on trial themselves.”

Navalny has been a leading opposition and protest figure in Russia, particularly through his YouTube channel. In March, he galvanized thousands to join rallies across Russia as part of one of the biggest anti-government protests Russia has seen in years. Navalny was arrested and jailed for 15 days.

President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to seek re-election earlier this month.

CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.