Government searches opposition leaders homes on eve of 12 June rally

Looking more like a dictatorship than a free country, Russian police stormed the homes of key opposition leaders last night, placing several under virtual house arrest as their homes were torn apart by investigators.

Police raided the homes of Alexei Navalny, Sergei Udaltsov, Ilya Yashin and television personality Ksenia Sobchak, taking computers, cell phones and files as evidence. Ironically many of the investigators wore masks to hide their identity from public. The new anti-rally law signed into law on Friday makes it a criminal offense for opposition members to wear masks in public.

Living room of Alexi Navalny whose search lasted 12 hours and investigators seized his cell phones, tablet and computer. Investigators eventually emerged carrying boxes of material seized from his apartment. Photo by AP’s Leonid Lebedev.

After Russian investigators searched opposition leaders apartments, the leaders were summoned in for questioning today making it impossible to lead today’s large rally against the increasingly authoritarian Putin government. The rally is planned for today as part of the “Day of Russia” national holiday.

President Putin seems unwilling to tolerate the peaceful protests that have drawn tens of thousands of people onto the streets in major Russian cities since the flawed Duma elections in December. On Friday Putin signed a law to raise fines on those who take part in unauthorized protests.

Today’s protest has city approval, but police can use any number of actions during a rally as a pretext to arrest citizens. The Associated Press reported that the top Twitter hashtag in Russia on Monday was “Welcome to the Year ’37,” a reference to the height of the purges under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The Kremlin is hoping that the tough new law will cause young and middle age white-collar professionals to stay away from protests.

 

 

One thought on “Government searches opposition leaders homes on eve of 12 June rally

  1. Today is a sad day indeed, to see the goverment of Russia become so afraid of its own people, that it must repress them with a level of brutality akin to the czars and soviet era.
    At this point the regiem must realize that it has not only failed at its reason to exist, but also become an eanamie of the people it was ment to searve.

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