News / Europe

Russian Authorities Charge Opposition Leader Udaltsov

Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks to media after visiting the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, October 26, 2012.Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks to media after visiting the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, October 26, 2012.
x
Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks to media after visiting the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, October 26, 2012.
Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov speaks to media after visiting the Russian Investigative Committee's office in Moscow, October 26, 2012.
Russia's top investigative committee has charged opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, 35, with plotting mass riots against the government. Udaltsov says the charges against him are false and further demonstrate the Kremlin’s intolerance of dissent.

Left Front party leader Sergei Udaltsov is the latest opposition activist to be charged with plotting crimes against the Kremlin. Russia’s State Investigative Committee says he organized mass riots in Moscow in May. Udaltsov was featured in a state television documentary in which he and others appear to be planning a coup funded by a Georgian official.

The charges against Udaltsov follow the detention last week of two other activists, including Leonid Razvozzhayev, who said he was abducted in Ukraine and tortured into confessing to plotting mass riots against the Russian government. Udaltsov says his so-called confession was written under intense psychological torture that included threats against his children. According to his lawyer, he later retracted that confession.

Speaking to reporters, Udaltsov said that the Razvozzhayev case is shameful, based on torture, and hurts Russia's image. Udaltsov added that no one would ever see him running across the border, he holds his head up and has not committed any crime. He noted that if arrested, he hopes society will not ignore it and mass protests will begin. Udaltsov added that he is fine and expressed hope that Russia will be free.

Udaltsov's aide, Konstantin Lebedev, was also detained and is in police custody, unlike Udaltsov, who was released and ordered to stay in Moscow. The three men face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Udaltsov says the charges against him are just the latest response from the Kremlin to crackdown on anyone who does not agree with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Udaltsov said that he has not planned or organized any mass disturbances, but supports peaceful protests. Udaltsov stated that he is acting within the framework of the law.

Last month, billionaire Alexander Lebedev, who owns a Russian newspaper critical of the Kremlin, was charged with assault and hooliganism for punching fellow businessman Sergei Polonsky on a television show last year. Lebedev says the charges are politically motivated because of his support of the political opposition. Lebedev said that he believes Putin thinks he is funding the opposition, a charge he denies.

Experts view the recent charges as part of a crackdown by Putin on the protest movement that has involved harsher punishments for public order offenses, a criminal investigation against charismatic opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and prison sentences for members of an anti-Kremlin all-female punk band Pussy Riot for a brief anti-Putin protest.

The Kremlin has consistently maintained that it is operating within the law and is merely taking action against violent, unsanctioned protests in an attempt to strengthen security and keep the public safe.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid