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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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!

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: 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: 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: 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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs