Russian opposition activist hospitalised after attack outside his home

A 22-year-old Russian opposition activist has been hospitalised after what supporters said was a vicious attack by two men outside his house in Moscow. 

Yegor Zhukov, who came to prominence last year when he was arrested and tried over opposition protests, posted pictures of his bruised and bloody face to social media following the attack.

He was taken to hospital for an MRI scan which showed he had “fortunately managed to avoid serious injuries or internal bleeding,” a spokesman said.

The activist “remained calm and even joked about what happened,” his team said in a social media post, adding that he was allowed home following tests.

The assault comes as opposition leader Alexei Navalny remains unconscious in a Berlin hospital after what German doctors say was a incident of poisoning.

Mr Navalny’s team have said Russian authorities are to blame for the attack, but the Kremlin have rejected the charges and accused the Berlin hospital of “rushing to conclusions”.

Mr Zhukov was handed a three-year suspended sentence last year on extremism charges, over videos posted to his YouTube channel about mass protests in Moscow that called for free elections.

In a closing speech to the court he attacked Russia’s “autocracy” and said most people in the country lived in a state of “desperation”. Fellow students rallied to support him and he later told interviewers he had ambitions to be president.

Before the attack on Sunday, Mr Zhukov took part in an online talk show in which he discussed the current protest movement in Belarus against long-time dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

He said the demonstrations there were a “textbook example” for those who wanted to achieve change through peaceful means.

Also on Sunday, the young activist said Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics had rescinded his offer of a place on a Master’s programme. He accused the university of bowing to pressure from authorities.

Moscow police have opened a criminal investigation into the attack.