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Instagram removes posts linked to Putin rival after Moscow’s demand

File photo showing Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaking after submitting his documents as candidate in the coming presidential elections. (Reuters)
MOSCOW: Facebook-owned Instagram has blocked posts in Russia related to bribery allegations made by the country’s prominent opposition leader against leading figures in a YouTube video.
The move follows a demand by the country’s Internet censor that Instagram restrict access to posts on its platform connected to allegations made by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navally, western reports have said.
Navalny, a fierce rival for Russian President Vladimir Putin, posted a video earlier this month, that allegedly shows the billionaire Oleg Deripaska meeting with Russia’s deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko aboard a yacht.
The 25-minute video, which has been watched more than five million times, claims that a bribery has taken place.
Navalny accused Instagram of having given in to an “illegal censorship request.” “Shame on you, @instagram!” he added.
Navalny has been barred from standing against President Putin in next month’s election because of a separate corruption conviction, which he says was politically motivated.
Instagram’s response contrasts with that of Google’s YouTube service, which had been ordered to block several clips before the end of Wednesday, but it has taken no such action.
The issue highlights a key debate about the choices US Internet giants, such as Facebook and Google, have to make in order to operate in certain markets.