MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators said Tuesday they have evidence proving that Russian opposition activists received funding for “illegal activities” from an influential Georgian politician.
The statement by the powerful Investigative Committee came hours after searches at the homes of three Moscow-based activists. It was not immediately clear whether the searches had yielded the evidence or what that evidence was.
Investigators said the three activists had attended a seminar in Lithuania earlier this year, which allegedly focused on “seizing power” via methods comparable to the so-called Color Revolutions, which have swept opposition leaders to power in several former Soviet republics over the past decade; associates of one of the activists have said the seminar was devoted to vote monitoring.
The three activists – Taisia Alexandrova, Anna Kornilova and Yury Nabutovsky, a member of the December 5 Party – were later questioned by investigators as witnesses in the high-profile criminal case against protest leader Sergei Udaltsov and two associates, who are charged with plotting “mass disorder” together with the Georgian politician, Givi Targamadze. Targamadze has denied wrongdoing.
“In the course of the preliminary investigation, evidence has been found confirming that Targamadze funded the illegal activity of Sergei Udaltsov, Leonid Razvozzhayev and Konstantin Lebedev aimed at organizing mass disturbances in Russia,” the Investigative Committee statement said.
Investigators’ new finding apparently refers to allegations against Udaltsov, Razvozzhayev and Lebedev made in Anatomy of a Protest 2, a documentary film aired by the pro-Kremlin NTV television network on October 5.
The program claimed to show the three plotting “mass disorder” at a meeting with Targamadze, as well as discussing the organization of training on the techniques of the color revolutions, two of which, in Ukraine and Georgia, involved mass demonstrations against alleged vote fraud.
Following the broadcast, Udaltsov, Razvozzhayev and Lebedev were charged with plotting mass disorder and face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. All three deny the charges.
Udaltsov said Tuesday that he had never met the three Moscow activists whose homes were searched earlier in the day.
“I’ve personally never spent any time with them and certainly have never traveled with them anywhere,” he said.
A statement from the December 5 Party, a newly formed opposition party, said Nabutovsky had not broken any law by attending the event in Lithuania, which it said took place in February, adding that it was “a training seminar on vote monitoring methods used by the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe].”
Meanwhile, Udaltsov was also summoned to the Investigative Committee on Tuesday to “familiarize [himself] with the results of the forensic examination of the video materials and orders to conduct additional examinations.”
“I was told that I may be summoned for questioning soon,” he told RIA Novosti.
“Everything hinges on these NTV recordings, which I believe are fake and in no way prove my role in any mass disorders or preparation for mass disorder,” Udaltsov said.