Rooting out corruption or jailing the opposition?

(Russia Beyond the Headlines)

Law enforcers have arrested Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov of Yaroslavl and three of his subordinates on charges of bribery. The mayor denies any wrongdoing and claims his arrest was politically motivated. Urlashov is a member of an opposition party, the Civil Platform, which is set to challenge the ruling United Russia party in fall elections.

The Investigative Committee website reads: “During the period from December 2012 through July 2, 2013, the mayor of the city of Yaroslavl and his subordinates were extorting from the director of a commercial company a bribe in the amount of 14 million rubles [around $422,000] out of a sum remitted to the company in payment for services rendered. In the event that the company’s director failed to meet the demands, the suspects repeatedly threatened to withhold payment for services under the next contract.”

Another source close to the Presidential Executive Office adds that Urlashov’s independent political position has recently caused much trouble for United Russia. Urlashov was elected mayor a little over a year ago, after he defeated the United Russia candidate by a wide margin, winning more than 70 percent of the votes.

Urlashov was formerly a member of United Russia, but he resigned from the party in 2011. He is now a member of the federal civil committee of Mikhail Prokhorov’s Civil Platform.

Read the full story at Russia Beyond the Headlines.

Editor’s note: According to Russia Today TV, a court in the city of Yaroslavl has ordered that Mayor Yevgeniy Urlashov must remain in custody until September 2nd. Four of his deputies were also arrested.