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Four Russians detained during a protest against President Vladimir Putin were sentenced to prison terms on Monday after a trial critics say is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent while all eyes are on the Ukraine crisis. Putin enjoys broad popularity at home, however, and his public standing has ridden a wave of nationalist sentiment to new heights in his Cold War-style standoff with Western powers over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Judge Natalia Susina ordered Ilya Gushchin jailed for 2 1/2 years and Alexander Margolin and Alexei Gaskarov to 3 1/2 years each on charges of rioting.



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