Oppositionist Udaltsov faces charges over documentary's coup allegations
MOSCOW, October 17 - RAPSI. The Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal case against opposition figure Sergei Udaltsov and several other individuals after looking into the circumstances portrayed in the “Anatomy of Protest-2” documentary, committee’s spokesman Vladimir Markin told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
The film was broadcast in October on NTV, which is owned by state-run Gazprom, and provoked a strong reaction from the public. The film makers allege that the opposition is plotting a coup using funds from abroad. The film shows a conversation between Udaltsov, and his supporters with Georgian parliamentary Defense and Security Committee head Givi Targamadze, who allegedly has experience in organizing the "color revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine, as well as the riots in Belarus.
The first part of the film aired in March. The filmmakers claimed that some people are paid to attend the opposition rallies. The film showed the "White Ring" opposition event on February 26, when thousands of people wearing white ribbons, white balloons, or other white items, joined hands around Moscow's Garden Ring, a large boulevard that circles the city center.
After watching “Anatomy of Protest-2”, State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak sent letters to the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service (FSB) requesting that they look into the film’s claims.
“We have not found any evidence of montage,” Markin announced on Wednesday.
Markin said that the case has been opened on charges of planning mass riots. The offence carries a punishment of 4 to 10 years in prison.
Konstantin Lebedev, Udaltsov's personal assistant, and Leonid Razvozzhayev, assistant to lawmaker and outspoken oppositionist Lev Ponomarev, are also suspects in the case. There are several other suspects as well, however the committee has so far declined to give their names.
Markin said that the suspects’ homes are being searched. When speaking to RIA Novosti, Udaltsov confirmed that law enforcement officers had come round to his home.
“Some police officers came to search my home, but it was not clear what particular case it was connected with,” he said.
The examination into the film has revealed that Givi Tragamadze, Georgian Consul in Moldova Mikhail Iashvili and their three of their assistants took part in the opposition meeting in Minsk.
Markin added that as soon as the suspects’ involvement in criminal preparations is established, they will incur criminal liability under Russian and international law.
Investigators will be verifying the information on the meeting participants’ plans for holding terrorist acts.