The criminal investigation targeting Russia's most prominent oppositionist blogger, Alexey Navalny, is heating up. Viacheslav Opalev, the former director of a logging firm in Kirov, has confessed [ru] to participating in the embezzlement of 16 million rubles (over half a million U.S. dollars), and named Navalny as the scheme's mastermind. Navalny's lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, says [ru] the process against his client and the guilty verdict to follow are now a mere formality. Writing on his LiveJournal blog [ru], Novaya Gazeta reporter Irek Murtazin is calling on Russians to fill the streets to protest the persecution of Navalny, who has maintained his innocence since the criminal allegations first arose.