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Russian police stop Polish plane to detain oppositionist

On Monday in St. Petersburg, the Russian police stopped an aeroplane from Polish Airlines LOT before takeoff to arrest the anti-kremlin opposition activist. The arrested Andrei Pivovarov, former executive director of the opposition movement “Open Russia”, wrote on the Internet that he intended to go abroad to rest.

According to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the oppositionist was on the service’s wanted list.

Russian human rights activists said the politician was not banned from leaving the country and passed passport control without any problems. He himself said in an interview with the radio station Echo of Moscow that he does not know why he was arrested.

“I did not commit any illegal acts and did not transport any forbidden items across the border,” the oppositionist stressed. In his opinion, the detention is purely political.

On May 27, Andrei Pivovarov announced the cessation of the activities of the organisation “Open Russia” in order not to expose activists and supporters to repression by the country’s authorities.

After Monday’s arrest, however, he is to be responsible for the organisation’s continued operation. He is facing two to six years in a prison colony.

According to journalists from the Interfax agency, Pivovarov’s arrest is related to the involvement of “Open Russia” in the campaign ahead of the parliamentary elections which are to be held in September in Russia. The Kremlin and its supporters believe that the organisation “is deliberately discrediting candidates supported by the Kremlin.”

Founded in 2001, “Open Russia” sought to unite all pro-European forces in Russia in order to create a united, anti-Putin opposition.

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