Sides Appeal Verdict in Russian Coup Plot Trial

YEKATERINBURG, March 26 (RIA Novosti) – Two men convicted of involvement in a bizarre plot to seize power in Russia’s Urals city of Yekaterinburg have filed appeals to drop all charges against them, while the prosecution has demanded an even harsher sentence, the Urals regional court said on Tuesday.

In February, a Yekaterinburg court sentenced Leonid Khabarov, a former Soviet-era colonel and a decorated Soviet Afghan war veteran, together with inventor Viktor Kralin, to 4 ½ years in prison each on charges of aiding terrorist activities and illegal possession of weapons.

According to investigation and court materials, Khabarov and Kralin had conspired with seven other people to murder a number of regional officials and blow up power lines in order to “create panic among the population.”

Six members of the group would then take control of city administration buildings in a bid to mobilize support, which the plot organizers thought would lead the Kremlin to cede power to them.

The plot’s mastermind, Alexander Yermakov, was earlier found to be suffering from schizophrenia and committed to a psychiatric ward.

The other members of the group, including a pensioner and a computer programmer with no previous military experience, were given suspended sentences ranging from two to six years for their parts in the plot.

Defense lawyers for Khabarov and Kralin earlier alleged the charges against their clients were falsified, pointing to the prosecution’s failure to provide details of the plot.

Khabarov was also a member of a nationalist organization formed by Сolonel Vladimir Kvachkov, 64, who was jailed for 13 years in February over a separate coup plot.

Kvachkov and his lawyers have appealed the sentence in Russia’s Supreme Court.


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