Russia's leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to 15 days in police custody for handing out leaflets in the subway.

A district court in Moscow ruled Thursday that Navalny, an anti-corruption crusader who spearheaded protests against President Vladimir Putin's rule, violated the law when he campaigned for an unsanctioned "anti-crisis" march on March 1.

Russia is facing an economic crisis because of low oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Navalny, the driving force behind the 2011-2012 mass protests in Moscow, is organizing anti-government protests in several Russian cities in March.

He was convicted in late December of fraud and given a 3 1/2 -year suspended sentence, and was ordered to remain under house arrest until his appeals were exhausted. He has repeatedly violated his house arrest.