Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is suing President Vladimir Putin over authorities' repeated refusals to sanction rallies for his supporters.

Navalny has alleged that Putin ordered local officials to withhold permission for the rallies because the Russian leader fears facing him as a challenger in next March's presidential election.

The Tverskoy court in Moscow confirmed receiving Navalny's lawsuit against Putin on Friday.

Putin hasn't said if he will seek a fourth term, but he's widely expected to run. Navalny has said he intends to join the race even though a criminal conviction he calls politically motivated prohibits his candidacy.

To pressure the Kremlin into letting him run, the anti-corruption crusader has organized a grassroots campaign to support his presidential bid and staged waves of protests this year.