An arbitration court in Moscow decided on Wednesday that there was no need to put Alexei Navalny into prison, a request which was appealed by Russian prison service and backed by prosecutors.
Alexei Navalny is known for his harsh criticism on President Vladimir Putin and Kremlin’s policies.
He had been convicted of fraud and embezzlement by Moscow court and given a three and a half year of suspended sentence which was allegedly believed as being Kremlin’s political vendetta by Navalny and pro-Western circles in Russia.
Navalny was a leading figure during the mass rallies of 2011-12 in Moscow when he together with his supporters accused the Kremlin leadership and upper members of Russian bureaucracy of widespread corruption and bribery in Russia.
The Russian prison service had appealed before to put into force Navalny’s earlier suspended sentence which brought him under house arrest from last December onwards. He has repeatedly violated his house arrest since then.
His brother was also imprisoned under the same verdict on charges of defrauding a French cosmetics company.
After the verdict announced, Navalny told reporters that Kremlin officials had requested to put himself to the prison in order to hamper his opposition against Putin and his policies.
"As of now, the presidential administration has decided that a fallout from my conviction would be too big," he said.
Russian Ministry of Justice last month cancelled registration of Navalny’s Party of Progress, which places among the narrow opposition of President Putin’s incumbent United Russia Party.
The Justice Ministry has claimed that the Party of Progress had not met the required criteria to operate in at least half of the Russian federative regions.
Recently, Navalny’s Progress Party has established an oppositional coalition with the RPR-Parnas Party, whose leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in February.
Many believe that Nemtsov shooting death in a tightly secured area near the Kremlin would have not been possible without an official involvement, and could be an attempt to scare other Kremlin critics.
The other leader of PRP-Parnas, Mikhail Kasyanov seems to have remained the biggest oppositional figure against Putin whose popular support is estimated to be over 80 percent in Russian domestic politics.