Russian pro-war activist and Putin critic detained over alleged terrorism offenses, his lawyer says

Sergei Udaltsov, a Russian pro-war activist and critic of President Vladimir Putin, was remanded into custody Thursday over alleged terrorism offenses, his lawyer told the Russian state news agency Tass.

Udaltsov is the leader of the Left Front, a group of political parties that oppose Putin and are affiliated with the Communist Party.

He was prominent during the 2011-12 protests that saw the biggest demonstrations in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was briefly allied with now-imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

While multiple activists, lawyers and opposition figures have been detained and jailed in Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, Udaltsov stands out from them as he has supported the war and the annexation of Crimea, while remaining critical of Putin.

On Thursday, Udaltsov wrote on his Telegram social media channel that police were banging on his door to search his home.

His lawyer, Violetta Volkova, told Tass that electronic devices were confiscated during the search, that a criminal case was opened against Udaltsov for “justifying terrorism” and that he was taken away for questioning and remanded into custody.

Volkova told Tass he likely will appear in court on Friday and that if he is charged and found guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison. She previously told Tass that she did not know what the criminal case is connected with.

In December, a Moscow court sentenced Udaltsov to 40 hours of compulsory labor for violating procedures relating to organizing a rally after he was detained on Red Square, where he tried to unfurl a flag with the image of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Tass said.

Udaltsov was previously imprisoned in 2014 and sentenced to 4½ years on charges related to his role in organizing a 2012 demonstration against Putin that turned violent. He protested his sentence by going on hunger strike before being released in 2017.

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