- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Russia opens probe against opposition leader
MOSCOW (AP) — In a new sign of a widening crackdown on Russia‘s opposition, investigators on Wednesday opened a criminal probe against leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov and several other activists for allegedly plotting mass riots.
Russia‘s top investigative agency said in a statement it also will investigate claims made in a recent documentary aired by a Kremlin-friendly TV channel that opposition leaders worked with Georgian officials to arrange terrorist attacks across Russia.
Mr. Udaltsov, a 35-year-old, shaven-headed Communist who wore a Stalin T-shirt for his wedding, has been one of the most recognizable faces of last winter’s anti-government protests in Moscow, which were legal and peaceful.
Investigators, backed by armed men wearing ski masks, searched Mr. Udaltsov’s apartment in south Moscow for more than five hours on Wednesday. The home of his parents also was searched, said Violetta Volkova, Mr. Udaltsov’s lawyer.
“I’m going to hold on until the end, and I won’t be quiet,” Mr. Udaltsov said as he left his home for questioning escorted by masked armed police. “It’s a wave of new repression.”
In addition to Mr. Udaltsov, the criminal investigation is targeting two little-known Russian leftist activists, but their role in the alleged plot was not identified. One of his allies, Konstantin Lebedev, was detained for 48 hours following brief questioning, Ms. Volkova said. Mr. Udaltsov’s questioning was still ongoing in the late afternoon on Wednesday.
A documentary aired last week on NTV, a channel seen as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin, showed what it says was footage of the Left Front leader meeting with officials from neighboring Georgia to discuss raising $200 million for protests against President Vladimir Putin, as well as plans for organizing riots in Moscow.
“Once their involvement in the preparation of criminal acts is established, they will be subject to criminal liability under Russian law and the norms of international law, and will be issued with international arrest warrants,” the committee said.
Officials in Georgia have refrained from commenting on allegations of Georgia’s involvement with the Russian opposition. Lawmaker Givi Targamadze, who was featured in the NTV program as the mastermind of Georgian support, was not available for comment on Wednesday but told Georgian media last week that he had never met Mr. Udaltsov.
Mr. Udaltsov said he has met “a great number of people” recently to discuss fundraising, but all of his efforts and intentions are legal. He has insisted the footage presented in the documentary has been doctored.
The Investigative Committee said Wednesday that it had carefully studied the footage and said it was not tampered with.
Renowned human rights activist Lev Ponomarev told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that a “broad crackdown on the opposition is very dangerous for this country” and said that early morning searches reminded him of secret police tactics in the 1930s in the Soviet Union.
The Russian Communist Party, which forms the largest opposition faction in parliament, has supported Mr. Udaltsov, dismissing allegations against him as nonsense. Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said Mr. Udaltsov is being persecuted for his views.
“The main goal is to nip the protests in the bud,” he told Interfax. “There’s no one left in the Kremlin who can say ‘no’ to that.”
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia battles Western influence
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow