Anti-corruption documentary in Russia gaining popularity

A documentary based on the findings of an anti-corruption activist accusing Russian prosecutors of ties with notorious gangsters on Monday hit 2.5 million views while the Kremlin is resisting the pressure to dismiss the prosecutor general.

Opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his team released an investigation and a documentary online last week, detailing what they described as shady deals involving sons of the prosecutor general and other senior prosecutors. Some of them, the investigation alleged, were involved in business deals with the wives of Russian gangsters.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday that the Kremlin is not interested in the allegations made in the documentary because they do not concern the prosecutor general, but his sons.

Prosecutor Yuri Chaika last week called the accusations false and accused Navalny of following somebody's "order" to discredit him.

Navalny's ally Ivan Zhdanov said last week that the Foundation for Fighting Corruption which prepared the investigation and the documentary filed a lawsuit against Chaika for slander and reputational damage. The date for the court hearing is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Navalny gained prominence before the 2011 parliamentary election for exposing official corruption. His investigations into property wealth of Russian officials have forced some of them to resign.

A court convicted Navalny of fraud in December last year and gave him a 3½-year suspended sentence while sending his brother to prison. In 2013, Navalny, leader of the 2011-2012 anti-Putin protests, was given a five-year suspended sentence on charges of embezzlement.

Some observers suggested that Navalny's latest investigation could be a deliberate leak orchestrated by one of Chaika's opponents.

"It's possible that Alexei Navalny was given a hint or the leak by another branch of power or a clan which is fighting it," Irina Khakamada, former lawmaker, said on the Ekho Moskvy radio.