Russian Police Raid Office of Opposition Group During Putin Show

Russian Police Raid Office of Opposition Group During Putin Show


Russian security officers raided the Moscow office of the opposition group Open Russia on Thursday while President Vladimir Putin answered questions during his annual call-in show.

Reuters reported that security officials—some wearing black ski-masks—confiscated computers and files from the office of Open Russia, founded by the oil magnate-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in Russian prison camps after challenging Putin on the corruption in his regime, resurrected Open Russia after his release to begin laying the foundation for a post-Putin democracy.

The raid on Open Russia comes after opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed in February near the Kremlin buildings.

Putin answered only two questions about Nemtsov during the call-in, which was dominated by his discussion of Russia’s economic woes. He again denied that Russian troops were fighting in eastern Ukraine to support separatists there.

The West has accused Russia of aiding that insurgency since last April. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concerns on Thursday about continued violence in eastern Ukraine and the movement of heavy weaponry into the conflict zone.

The Ukrainian military said at least eight of its soldiers were killed this week despite a ceasefire agreement reached in February.