Russian police raided homes belonging to leading opposition figures and activists on Monday ahead of large scheduled rallies against newly elected President Vladimir Putin that some have said could be the largest rallies ever.
Police raided the home of Alexei Navalny, the head of the Left Front, as well as the homes belonging to Sergei Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin, who are with the Solidarity movement, state-run RIA Novosti reported. The home of Ksenia Sobchak, a television star who became a social activist, was also raided.
Opposition figures have said they believe the raids can be interpreted as intimidation tactics ahead of the protests. The demonstrations, which activists hope will draw at least a million people, are slated for June 14.
“There is a police search in my house in relation to the case of the mass riots. They’ve almost carved up the door,” Navalny said, according to RIA.
Sobchak said on Twitter that in the morning, police broke into her room and “did not allow me to put my clothes on, robbed my apartment, humiliated me,” according to RT. She added, “I never thought we would be back in a country of SUCH repression,” possibly referring to the decades of communist rule in the former Soviet Union.
Police said the searches were conducted as part of an investigation into clashes between radical opposition activists and riot police more than a month ago, RT reported.
“Individuals whose homes have been searched have been summoned to the Investigative committee’s office for legal procedures on June 12,” Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin said.
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