News / Europe

Russian Police Raid Opposition Leaders' Homes Ahead of Protest

Russian police officers guard the entrance of the building where Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny resides during a police search in Moscow, June 11, 2012.
Russian police officers guard the entrance of the building where Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny resides during a police search in Moscow, June 11, 2012.
James Brooke
MOSCOW - Just a month after he began a new six-year term, Russian President Vladimir Putin continues a crackdown on dissent. 

Russian police raided the apartments of top opposition leaders in Moscow on Monday, the day before a mass rally is to take place against President Putin.

Armed with assault rifles, investigative police raided 10 homes and offices.  They said they were looking for evidence surrounding the last big anti-Putin rally.

Staged the day before Putin's May 7 presidential inauguration, that rally ended in violence with 20 policemen injured and 436 protesters detained.

Democratic Russia Committee Director Natalia Pelevine says the raids were designed to intimidate opposition leaders and their supporters.

"They are trying to confiscate electronic equipment, probably computers and DVDs and any device that can hold information pretty much.  We know they are confiscating that at this moment," Pelevine said.

In the raids, police beat down the doors of two of the best known leaders of the younger generation of democracy protesters, internet blogger Alexei Navalny and television hostess Ksenia Sobchak.

Later, a police source told Interfax that police confiscated nearly $1,900,000 from Sobchak's apartment.

Sobchak tweeted of the raid: "People burst in at 8 o'clock in the morning, they were stopping me from putting my clothes on.  They robbed the apartment.  They humiliated me."

Liberal political figures condemned the raids, which took part on a Russian holiday.  

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said the raid showed that "radicals" are gaining strength in the Kremlin.  A group of liberal Duma members issued a statement comparing them to secret police raids that routinely took place before opposition actions in the times of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II.

A former Duma member who is forming an opposition party, Mark Feygin, says President Putin is very fearful of Moscow street protests growing out of control.  In the March presidential election, Putin did not win Moscow.

Feygin says the raids were designed to keep main opposition leaders from speaking at Tuesday's rally.  Police have asked about six of the top leaders to report for questioning one hour before the rally is to start.

Pelevine also says the timing is purely political.

"Basically, they are trying to get the opposition out of the way, and to make sure the protest tomorrow [Tuesday] does not happen," Pelevine said.

Putin signed a law Friday that dramatically raised penalties for unauthorized rallies.  Under the new law, someone caught participating in an unauthorized political rally will face a fine of up to $9,000, the equivalent of the average one-year salary in Russia.

Tuesday's rally is authorized and Moscow city officials have granted a permit for a march and rally for up to 50,000 participants.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alex Smith from: Russia
June 12, 2012 7:06 AM
15-00 p.m. 12.06.12. It is very rainy and there is thunderstorm in the Moscow (Russia). Bad situation for opposition.

by: Alex Smith from: Russia
June 12, 2012 6:42 AM
300000 rub (app. 10000 $) is max fine by new Law. So, there is also 30000 rub (app. 1000 $ ) fine for one "wrong doing". What is the reason of adopting such "severe Law"? I think they (Big power) fear of "protests growing out of control" very much. And yet. It is a bad manner to "Raid Opposition Leaders' Homes". It is possible to stole information about participants before action. Am I wrong?

by: Malek Towghi/Tauqee from: USA
June 11, 2012 6:44 PM
By going the Stalin-KGB way, Putin will be doing a disservice to the great Russian people and to the whole civilized world.

by: Mike
June 11, 2012 4:41 PM
Today the U.S. State Department spokesman expressed concern about searches in the apartments of Russian opposition. Concerns expressed by Victoria Nuland is not enough. Comrade Putin spat at her from a high mountain. And if so, what are needed: 1. U.S. officials must recognize the illegitimacy of the regime of Russia, with all of the ensuing economic and political consequences, and 2. Europe should begin to carry out the same policy towards Russia which it holds in relation to the Belarusian dictator Lukashenko. 3.Magnitsky Act should be expanded to include all of Russia's leadership, headed by Putin, with the condition of the arrest of all bank accounts outside of Russia.

by: Gennady from: Russian Federation, Volga
June 11, 2012 10:12 AM
The world witnesses as illegitimate “President” Putin has launched unprecedented campaign of intimidating leaders and all Russia fighting for the restoration of basic human rights, Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen stipulated in articles 17.1,22.1,27, 29.1,29.5,31, 56.1 of Russian Constitution. God help Russia get free of Putin & his cronies!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More