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Siberian 'fur hat armed robbery' link to man 'seeking to topple' Putin

By The Siberian Times reporter
22 November 2012

A detained opposition activist accused of inciting mass unrest aimed at overthrowing President Vladimir Putin has been additionally charged with the armed robbery of 500 fur hats in Siberia.

Leonid Razvozzhayev, 39. Picture: ntv.ru

Leonid Razvozzhayev, 39, a Left Front member, claims he was kidnapped from Ukraine and smuggled to Russia over the mass disorder allegations.

This is denied by the authorities who said he voluntarily confessed. He later retracted this 'confession' and now has been accused of the armed robbery of 500 fur hats and video cameras in Angarsk in 1997.

He brandished a hunting rifle and two handguns, claimed the Investigation Committee.

The latest charges were made two weeks before the possibility of prosecution would have expired some 15 years after the 'robbery'. 

Investigators announced today they were reviving the Siberian case after receiving a complaint from a woman in Angarsk, the accused's hometown. "Back then the criminal investigation was not completed," said a statement. 

At the time Razvozzhayev was evidently detained but then released without charge. 

His brother Viktor Razvozzhayevsaid recently that Leonid was unfairly accused by the fur businessman who wanted to get rid of a business competitor, and was released due to lack of proof of involvement.

Opposition activists portrayed the fur hat charges as a part of a legal campaign against political figures opposed to Putin. The president has previously denied a clampdown is underway while saying 'everyone must comply with Russian law'.

Razvozzhayev's claims that he was kidnapped in Kiev led to an international outcry. 

Left Front movement leader Sergei Udaltsov claimed on Twitter that the authorities were a tactic to 'break' the activist and 'revenge for his retraction of the confession'.

'The authorities are determined to lock up their political opponents and are trying to do so in anyway they can,' added another Left Front member Alexei Sakhnin.  He said the latest charge showed 'how weak' the unrest case was against  Razvozzhayev.

Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, himself facing legal action which could see him jailed for a decade, called the fur hat accusations 'absurd'.

Comments (1)

One for the Kremlinologists this....
Vijay, India
22/11/2012 23:58
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