At least five Open Russia pro-democracy activists have been detained in a police raid on the opening of a new office in Russias Far East.
Founded by exiled opposition politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Open Russia was blacklisted by Russian prosecutors as an “undesirable organization” last year. The attack came the day before celebrations for Russia Day, a national holiday which marks the beginning of the constitutional transition from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation.
“We opened an Open Russia branch in Vladivostok. Eleven police officers stormed in at the end and detained five people,” the groups chairman Andrei Pivovarov tweeted Tuesday.
One opposition party called the raid on Open Russia a scare campaign.
Open Russia spokeswoman Natalia Gryaznevitch wrote on Facebook that four male police officers and a female police colonel “grabbed me by the arms, pushed me into a car, and hauled me to a police station.”
Khodorkovskys news website MBKh Media cited one activist saying that “police officers literally began beating people up.”
“Happy Russia Day,” Open Russia founder Khodorkovsky wrote.