News / Europe

    Russian Tycoon Alexander Lebedev Charged With Hooliganism

    Alexander Lebedev, chairman of Russia's National Reserve Corporation, speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Moscow September 25, 2012.Alexander Lebedev, chairman of Russia's National Reserve Corporation, speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Moscow September 25, 2012.
    x
    Alexander Lebedev, chairman of Russia's National Reserve Corporation, speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Moscow September 25, 2012.
    Alexander Lebedev, chairman of Russia's National Reserve Corporation, speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Moscow September 25, 2012.
    Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev has been charged with hooliganism and assault for punching property developer Sergei Polonsky while they were on a TV talk show last year. Lebedev is an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and has said he believes the charges are politically motivated.

    The 52-year-old banker and media magnate owns the British newspapers, The Independent and London’s Evening Standard, and is known for openly criticizing the Kremlin.  

    Lebedev also owns a stake in one of the only independent newspapers in Russia that is known for its hard-hitting reporting on the administration, Novaya Gazeta. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev also is part owner of the paper that has exposed massive corruption in Russia. Four journalists at the paper were killed between 2001 and 2009.

    Lebedev said he has been lucky to express his opinions so far.

    "It looks like things have started to come to the point. And I have to thank the authorities for having tolerated me for such a long time, allowing me for seven years to publish the most influential free opposition newspaper, and also voicing my views on certain wrong things," he said.

    Lebedev said, however, he does not fund the opposition. He claimed he now faces jail time for an incident last year because Russian President Vladimir Putin is targeting anyone he thinks is backing the opposition here in Russia.

    Lebedev said it is dangerous to back anything except Putin.

    "So I won't recommend anybody who is doing business here, especially if you are a foreigner but even to the locals, do not keep it together - business with, say, opposition newspaper - or any activities that might be looked from the "siloviki" position as being opposition, or dissident, et cetera," he said.

    Siloviki is a Russian word that roughly translates to force structures, or former KGB men and women and military officers.  

    The Kremlin denies putting any pressure on Lebedev. Lebedev, though, said he had been warned.

    "Well, clearly I was warned officially a week ago about something that's going to happen tomorrow [Wednesday], and let's wait and see.  It's going to happen at 2 o'clock," he said. "I don't see any reason for anybody fabricating a case like that unless they want to put you into prison, pushing you through the judiciary system which, as we all know in Pussy Riot's and other cases, has nothing to do with justice."

    The charges against Lebedev carry a seven-year sentence. Recently, the all-female punk rock band Pussy Riot was convicted of hooliganism after staging an anti-Putin performance in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral. The three members are now serving two years in a penal colony.  

    Hooliganism is a widely expansive phrase in Russia that covers behavior that is not acceptable or specifically defined by law. Anyone can be charged with hooliganism.

    Since Putin returned to the Kremlin in May, the fines for participating in and organizing unsanctioned protests have increased more than 150-fold, and the United States Agency for International Development has had to close its doors because the Kremlin believes it is funding the opposition.

    The administration maintains that many of the latest developments regarding protests are meant to protect the average Russian from violence. Critics assert that it is just another way for the Kremlin to crack down on political dissent.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ebenezer from: canada
    September 27, 2012 1:36 PM
    It became a fashion in Russia to for all these criminals to say all the time some political motivation. The new style in Russia is do some criminal activity if the government try to do justice then political motivation and something like Kremlin is behind it. If the Government just keeps quite then, again those same people will say government is promoting criminal thing is Russia.

    For these very people the final resort is US, EU, UK. This guy Aleksandr Lebedev recently said he will complain to US, EU or UK against Russia. These people are living in Russia to rob that country. oligarch's are bad for Russia. They become rich robbing public money and they are the one who don't follow the rule of law or become dissidents. For whatever this investigation is going on it is not happened secret, it is public and everyone saw live what he did.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora