MOSCOW, September 11 (RAPSI) – Yaroslavl Mayor Yevgeny Urlashov, who is suspected of soliciting a bribe, went on a hunger strike to attract attention to the violations in his case, RAPSI reported on Friday, citing his attorney.

The criminal case opened against Urlashov is one of the biggest bribe cases in Russia recently, considering Yaroslavl’s population (600,000) and the fact that Urlashov, an opposition candidate, defeated the candidate from the ruling party at the 2012 mayoral elections.

Attorney Sergei Golubenkov said Urlashov has no complaints about the prison conditions or staff.

The Kirovsky District Court in Yaroslavl has set a date for a pre-trial hearing. It will be held on September 14 behind closed doors.

Investigators believe that Urlashov and his accomplices extorted a bribe of 45 million rubles (about $657,000) from businessmen.

The police detained Urlashov on July 3, 2013.

He pleaded not guilty and said that his prosecution was politically motivated.

Urlashov, a member of the ruling United Russia party in 2008-2011, was a candidate for the opposition during mayoral elections in 2012. He achieved a landslide victory over a United Russia candidate Yakov Yakushev. A member of billionaire-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov’s Civic Platform party, Urlashov planned to run for the Yaroslavl regional parliament in September 2013.

On July 18, 2013, Urlashov was removed from his mayoral post.

In December 2014, a court found another accomplice of Urlashov, Maxim Pokalainen, guilty on bribery charges and sentenced him to five years in prison.