Charged Russian opposition activist could face six years in prison – ally
Russia on Tuesday indicted opposition activist Andrei Pivovarov with involvement in an “undesirable” organization, an offense which an ally said was punishable by up to six years in prison.
Pivovarov was director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy group linked to exiled ex-oil magnate and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Open Russia announced last month that it was ceasing operations in Russia to protect its staff from a crackdown on the opposition. Read more
Pivovarov was arrested days later after police got him off a plane in St. Petersburg that was about to take off for Poland.
He was flown to southern Russia where a court ordered his detention for two months pending trial. Read more
Pivovarov said the case was politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from participating in the parliamentary elections in September. The Kremlin denies that the matter is political.
Russia declared the London-based Open Russia group “junk” in 2017, effectively banning its activities.
Tatyana Usmanova, former coordinator of Open Russia, said the allegation against Pivovarov relates to a Facebook post from a year ago expressing support for the municipal election candidates. He could face up to six years in prison if convicted, she said.
Police also opened new criminal proceedings against him, accusing him of failing to register one of his groups as a “foreign agent”, Pivovarov’s Telegram account reported. This is punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($ 4,150), he said.
($ 1 = 72,3600 rubles)
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