Investigators Reject Opposition Detainee Torture Claims

Russia’s Investigative Committee on Monday rejected claims that Leonid Razvozzhayev, an ally to opposition figure Sergei Udaltsov, was beaten and tortured into confessing to involvement in plans to organize mass disorder in an effort bankrolled by Georgian politician Givi Targamadze.

“A preliminary investigation has been launched,” committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said. “When he arrived at the pretrial detention center Razvozzhayev was examined and no bodily injuries were registered. He has not requested medical assistance.”

Markin said earlier in the day Razvozzhayev, who was placed on the federal wanted list last Friday, had turned himself in and that all of what Razvozzhayev has said “will be thoroughly investigated.”

He later specified that Razvozzhayev had admitted his involvement in a 10-page, handwritten confession.

Razvozzhayev’s associates and supporters, however, rejected the Investigative Committee’s explanation and said it was a provocation in a bid to exert pressure on other opposition members.

“It’s strange that he has not owned up yet to making an attempt on the president or the pope,” Udaltsov commented, adding that Razvozzhayev could have been abducted in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the “Razvozzhayev issue” had not been raised during Putin’s negotiations with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

“This topic was not brought up,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Razvozzhayev had struck a defiant pose last Friday, writing on his blog that he had been questioned by the Investigative Committee and then left Moscow.

“No one knows where I am, even my close friends,” he wrote. “I can live in extreme conditions for a long while. I am not going to play by their rules,” his blog entry said.

Razvozzhayev, as well as Sergei Udaltsov and his aide Konstantin Lebedev face up to 10 years in prison on charges of conspiring to organize mass disorder.

The charges are based on Anatomy of a Protest 2, the second installment of a documentary on the Russian opposition aired by NTV, a privately-owned but fiercely pro-Kremlin television channel.

The film, aired on October 5, claims that Udaltsov and his supporters planned to stage mass riots and a coup using funding from the Georgian leadership, which is at odds with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The documentary comes complete with footage of Udaltsov’s alleged meeting with a Georgian representative to discuss plans for the rebellion.

Targamadze, the head of the Georgian parliament’s defense and security committee and a close ally of President Mikheil Saakashvili, has slammed the documentary, calling it “propaganda.” He also said he had never met Udaltsov.

The NTV documentary said Targamadze had helped organize the “color revolutions” that swept opposition leaders into power in Georgia and Ukraine in the 2000s amid mass protests over election rigging allegations.


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