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Russian opposition leader barred from presidential race

Alexei Navalny (center) at a 2016 march in Moscow marking the one-year anniversary of the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

Russia's Central Electoral Commission has barred opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running in March's presidential election against Russian President Vladimir Putin, per the BBC. Navalny was convicted of embezzlement earlier this year after a 2013 verdict on the same charges was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights, which determined that he had received an unfair trial.

Why it matters: Navalny is seen as the only person who can credibly challenge Putin, who is running a fourth term as president, in next year's race. After the decision, he called for his supporters to boycott the presidential vote in protest.

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