Russia's communications providers have blocked access to the website of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on orders of the state communications watchdog.

The agency, Roskomnadzor, demanded that Navalny remove a video alleging that Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko find lavish hospitality from billionaire Oleg Deripaska. Navalny refused to obey a court order threatening to shut down his web resources and appealed it.

His website was blocked Thursday, though the YouTube video of police investigations has remained available. The probe depict from the social media account of a woman who claims to have had an affair with Deripaska.

Navalny wanted to run against President Vladimir Putin in Russia's March 18 presidential race, but was barred because of a fraud conviction in a case that many see as politically motivated.

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