Russia to prosecute anti-Putin protester

Russia to prosecute anti-Putin protester

Russian investigators opened criminal proceedings against a prominent leader of protests against President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, saying a documentary on a pro-Kremlin TV channel showed evidence Sergei Udaltsov had plotted mass disorder.

Law enforcement officials raided Udaltsov’s Moscow apartment around daybreak and said they were also searching the homes of two associates facing the same charges, which carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The Kremlin appeared to be probing how far it could go in cracking down on the protest movement, according to opposition parliamentarian Dmitry Gudkov, who has led anti-Putin rallies with Udaltsov since late last year.

“They will be taking the temperature of society. The repressions will continue,” Interfax quoted him as saying. The criminal case focused on allegations aired in a documentary on NTV television that Udaltsov received money and orders from an ally of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to cause unrest in Russia.

“The main department of the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Sergei Udaltsov ... based on evidence of ... preparing mass disorder,” the federal Investigative Committee said in a statement on its website. Udaltsov said that he was being taken to the committee’s headquarters for questioning.