Pro-war Russian political activist questioned over terrorism offences, his lawyer says

Pro-war Russian political activist questioned over terrorism offences, his lawyer says

MOSCOW (AP): Sergei Udaltsov, a Russian left-wing activist was being questioned on Thursday over terrorism offences, his lawyer told the Russian state news agency Tass.

Udaltsov is the leader of the Left Front, a group of left-wing political parties who oppose President Vladimir Putin and are affiliated with Russia’s Communist Party.

He was prominent during the 2011-2012 protests, which saw the biggest demonstrations in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was briefly allied with now-imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

While multiple activists, lawyers and opposition figures have been detained and jailed in Russia since Putin invaded Ukraine, Udaltsov has broken with them as he has supported the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, while remaining critical of Putin.

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On Thursday morning, Udaltsov wrote on his Telegram social media channel that police were banging on his door trying to search his home.

His lawyer Violetta Volkova told Tass that electronic devices were confiscated during the search, that a criminal case was opened against Udaltsov for “justifying terrorism,” and that he was taken away for questioning.

Volkova told Tass that she did not know what the criminal case is connected with.

In December, a Moscow court handed Udaltsov 40 hours of compulsory labor for violating procedures relating to organizing a rally after he was detained on Red Square in central Moscow where he tried to unfurl a flag with the image of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Tass said.

Udaltsov was previously imprisoned in 2014 and sentenced to 4½ years on charges related to his role in organizing a May 2012 protest against Putin that turned violent. He protested against his sentence by going on hunger strike before being released in 2017.