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Russian Opposition Leader Investigated


A police officer escorts Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, center, for questioning in Moscow, October 17, 2012.

A police officer escorts Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, center, for questioning in Moscow, October 17, 2012.

Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov and other activists are being investigated on claims they planned to overthrow the government.

Russia’s Investigative Committee says it is looking into claims 35-year-old leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov worked with Georgian officials to overthrow the government in Moscow.

The committee is basing its investigation on a documentary that aired on state TV last week that allegedly showed footage of Udaltsov meeting with officials in Georgia to discuss raising $200 million for protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin and to allegedly organize riots in Moscow.

Udaltsov says this is just another tactic by the Putin administration to clamp down on the opposition. He has helped stage unprecedented protests against Mr. Putin since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He says the allegations are lawless repressions, and he hopes society will not be silent about it. He says it is the authorities' revenge for opposition activity and appealed to the people to express their outrage about it.

Udaltsov says that he has met with lots of people recently to discuss fundraising and says his activities are legal. He says the footage in the documentary has been doctored.

But the Investigative Committee says it has closely looked at the material and claims it is authentic.

Udaltsov says he is prepared to fight the allegations. He says he is ready for everything, and he has not committed any crime. He says his only guilt is that he is telling the truth.

Many analysts say the investigation is another indication the Kremlin will not tolerate dissent since Mr. Putin returned to office for an unprecedented third term in May.

Since then, penalties for participating in and organizing unsanctioned protests have increased. Mr. Putin's government says new laws regarding protests are meant to protect Russians from violence.

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