Dec 15 opposition action successful despite frost, intimidation - Navalny

Opposition activist Alexei Navalny believes that criminal charges brought against his brother and he aimed to intimidate the opposition and citizens planning to participate in the Saturday action.

"That was done not just to frighten my family and me. That was timed with the Dec. 15 action. The main message was - we could imprison you and your families," Navalny told reporters on Sunday.

He said he was satisfied with the Saturday action.

"The weather was frosty, the action was not permitted, which practically guaranteed arrests, detentions and fines to participants and meant they would have to stand in the wind and frost. But many people chose to take part," he said.

An unpermitted action of the opposition gathered from 500 to 2,000 people, according to various estimates, by the Solovetsky Stone on Moscow's Lubyanskaya Square on Saturday. The police detained about 40 people. The opposition had planned to hold the Freedom March on Dec. 15 but failed to agree on its route with the city administration.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the day earlier that a criminal case had been opened against Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg over the embezzlement of 55 million rubles in cargo transportation.

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