Europe

Russia faces to watch: Olga Romanova

  • 29 February 2012
  • From the section Europe

The BBC looks at some of the key figures emerging in Russia's political scene.

Olga Romanova

Olga Romanova is a well-known former TV presenter who campaigned for her businessman husband's release from jail and helped organise the financing of mass protests after the 2011 parliamentary elections.

Born in 1966, she became a reputed business journalist in the 1990s and then presenter of a news-analysis programme. But she abandoned her TV career in 2005 because of an argument over censorship with the channel's management.

After her husband, Alexei Kozlov, was arrested and imprisoned in 2008 because of a business conflict with his partner, influential senator Vladimir Slutsker, she campaigned for his release.

Ms Romanova began a "blog of a prisoner's wife" and founded a group to help businessmen facing similar difficulties. Although Mr Kozlov has now been released, the court's verdict is subject to appeal.

She co-founded The Voters' League, a non-partisan organisation aimed at fighting the rigging of elections which also attracted novelist Boris Akunin, TV journalist Leonid Parfyonov and rock star Yuri Shevchuk.

Because of her reputed honesty, she was elected by opposition activists in December to keep a virtual "wallet" for the Moscow rallies. £130,000 was collected via the internet for the two events on 24 December 2011 and 4 February 2012.

Just before the second rally she quit, saying she needed to devote more time to the legal battle involving her husband. She also said she was fed up with criticism on social networks about how the money had been spent.