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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs