Russian opposition leader joins Moscow mayor race

In this Monday, May 5, 2008 file photo Russian army S-300 air defense missiles move during a final rehearsal of Victory Day parade at Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral, right in the background, in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, June 4, 2013 that Russia hasn't yet fulfilled a contract to send sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria to avoid tilting the balance of power in the region. Russian officials have acknowledged that Moscow signed a deal for the delivery of the powerful missiles a few years ago, but have been coy about whether any of them have been delivered. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)
In this Monday, May 5, 2008 file photo Russian army S-300 air defense missiles move during a final rehearsal of Victory Day parade at Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral, right in the background, in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, June 4, 2013 that Russia hasn't yet fulfilled a contract to send sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria to avoid tilting the balance of power in the region. Russian officials have acknowledged that Moscow signed a deal for the delivery of the powerful missiles a few years ago, but have been coy about whether any of them have been delivered. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s leading opposition figure is fighting the Kremlin’s handpicked choice for mayor of Moscow despite being on trial in a case he says is politically motivated.

Anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny launched his campaign for elections to be held in early September with a promise Monday to “destroy” President Vladimir Putin’s allies and “make life better” in Russia’s capital.

Incumbent mayor and Kremlin candidate Sergei Sobyanin surprised his opponents by moving the vote forward two years. He is expected to win handily.

Navalny became the face of the movement against Putin after publishing a series of staggering corruption exposes. He faces up to 10 years in jail in six separate criminal cases that he says were fabricated on Putin’s orders.

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