Russia faces to watch: Boris Akunin

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

Boris Akunin

Boris Akunin is one of the moral figureheads of the opposition protests, a popular novelist who abandoned his work to help spearhead an anti-fraud campaign group.

Born Grigory Chkhartishvili in 1956, his books, mostly crime stories, have nothing to do with politics. He is also an essayist, translator and expert on Japanese literature.

However, after the mass arrest of demonstrators protesting the results of December's parliamentary elections, Akunin said he was moved to abandon work on a new novel in France to return to Russia to join the opposition movement.

Along with well-known TV journalist Leonid Parfyonov, he is one of a few non-politicians to have spoken publicly at the rallies.

He also helped create a non-partisan group to fight electoral fraud known as the Voters' League.

"The time has come to put aside our personal differences and restore democracy in Russia", he said. "I am going to protest because I do not want to spend the rest of my life in regret and shame."

Mr Akunin describes himself as a non-partisan and says he will return to writing as soon as the democratisation process is underway.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he was ready to meet Akunin for talks, but the writer said he would only meet Mr Putin "for a serious conversation, not for a propaganda show. I would tell him: let us restore a normal democratic balance of power in the country."

So far, the two men have not met.

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