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Last week, Alexei Navalny, the recently convicted Russian opposition blogger, lawyer and candidate for the post of mayor of Moscow, posted a provocative item on his site.

It was an open letter addressed to the present mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, accusing him of authorizing the theft of pro-Navalny banners from the city’s municipal high rises. “Could you please answer my question?” asked Navalny, 37, tartly. “Why do you, along with your migrant workers for municipal utilities, steal our Navalny banners from the balconies of the residents who have installed them?”

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