Moscow police on Saturday briefly detained several opposition leaders while they were protesting against the intensifying crackdown on Russian opposition.
Hundreds of people gathered Saturday afternoon outside the headquarters of Russian security agency FSB and outside the office of the Investigative Committee to protest the crackdown on the opposition as well as the treatment of leftist activist Leonid Razvozzhayev.
Investigators this week said that Razvozzhayev had turned himself in and confessed to plotting riots. But he later disavowed his confession and filed a complaint over what he said was his abduction from Ukraine. Rights activists who visited Razvozzhayev in jail say he had been tortured into confessing.
Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny as well as Sergei Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin were detained while they were standing in the vicinity of the FSB headquarters with posters saying ”I’m against torture and repression.”
They were released several hours later after they were charged with staging an unsanctioned protest, which carries a fine. A dozen of their supporters, however, were detained outside the police station.
Elsewhere in Moscow, Brooklyn Nets owner and former Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he’s leaving business to focus full-time on politics, returning to the political arena after remaining silent through a five-month Kremlin crackdown on the opposition.
Prokhorov told reporters after the conference that he wants to lead ”a third power” in the country, competing both with the Kremlin and the opposition.
Prokhorov, who is believed to be worth about $13 billion, finished third in Russia’s presidential election in March amid speculation that his candidacy was orchestrated by the Kremlin. Though he denied the claim, he was nowhere to be seen as the government launched a crackdown on the opposition this spring, arresting activists and introducing new harsh legislation.
Prokhorov, 47, appeared Saturday at the first conference of the party he set up several months ago, announcing that he would put his money in a trust fund and let his partners at the investment vehicle Onexim run the shop.