Sergei Udaltsov

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Sergei Udaltsov
Сергей Удальцов
Oudaltsov.jpg
Chairman of the
Vanguard of Red Youth
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 May 1999
Chairman of the
Left Front
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 October 2008
Chairman of the
Russian United Labour Front
Incumbent
Assumed office
22 February 2010
Personal details
Born Udaltsov Sergey Stanislavovich
(1977-02-16) 16 February 1977 (age 37)
Moscow
Spouse(s) Anastasia Udaltsova,
children
Ivan (born in 2002)
and
Oleg (born in 2005)
Profession lawyer

Sergei Stanislavovich Udaltsov (Russian: Серге́й Станиславович Удальцов; born 16 February 1977) is a Russian political activist and leader of the Left Front movement.[1] In 2011 and 2012, he helped lead a series of protests against Vladimir Putin. He has been under house arrest since February 2013.[2][3]

December 2011 arrest[edit]

On 4 December 2011, the day of the Russian legislative elections, Udaltsov was arrested in Moscow for allegedly "resisting officers' recommendations to cross the road in the correct place" and detained for five days.[1] As he finished this, Udaltsov was immediately rearrested and given a 15-day sentence for allegedly earlier leaving hospital without permission when he was being treated there during a previous, different period of detention in October. Around twenty officers came to pick him up, together with plainclothes members of the FSB.[1]

Udaltsov was in the same prison as another activist, blogger Alexei Navalny. While in prison, Udaltsov went on hunger strike to protest against the conditions.[1]

In December Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release.[4] One of Udaltsov's lawyers, Violetta Volkova, applied to the European Court of Human Rights for his release, claiming a list of procedural violations.[1]

As of 17 December 2011, since November 2010 Udaltsov had spent a total of 86 days in detention for a variety of minor crimes and misdemeanours.[1] According to Nikolai Polozov, one of his lawyers, "These cases are fabricated as a deliberate obstacle to prevent Sergei from exercising his constitutional right to free political expression".[1]

May 2012 demonstrations[edit]

Addressing supporters after release from jail, 24 May 2012

Udaltsov played a leading role in the Moscow demonstrations protesting Putin's inauguration following the presidential election, taking an aggressive approach as the demonstrators attempted to exceed the limits imposed on them by the police. He was arrested, released, then re-arrested at a later demonstration and sentenced to 15 days. Adaption of a more militant posture was a change of tactics for the protest movement, which heretofore had dutifully sought permits and maintained a peaceful atmosphere.[5][6]

On 8 May, the day after Putin was inaugurated, Udaltsov and fellow opposition leader Alexey Navalny were arrested after an anti-Putin rally at Clean Ponds, and were each given 15-day jail sentences.[7] In response, Amnesty International again designated him (as well as Navalny) a prisoner of conscience.[8]

October 2012 conspiracy charge[edit]

In October 2012, the pro-government news channel NTV aired a documentary titled "Anatomy Of A Protest 2", which accused Udaltsov, Udaltsov's assistant Konstantin Lebedev, and Leonid Razvozzhayev, a parliamentary aide to opposition MP Ilya V. Ponomaryov, of meeting with Georgian politician Givi Targamadze for the purpose of overthrowing Putin.[9][10] The documentary purported to show a low-quality secret recording of a meeting between Targamadze and Russian activists, which NTV stated had been given to its staff "on the street by a stranger of Georgian nationality". The Investigative Committee of Russia (SK) stated it had found the footage to be genuine, while bloggers debated its validity, stating that at least one fragment of footage was used twice with different voice-overs.[10] Udaltsov denied the documentary's accusations on Twitter, calling it "dirt and lies" and a "provocation whose ultimate objective is to justify my arrest".[11]

Following the broadcast, an SK spokesman stated that the government was considering terrorism charges against Udaltsov on the basis of the video,[9] and Razvozzhayev, Udaltsov, and Konstantin Lebedev, an assistant of Udaltsov's, were charged with "plotting mass disturbances".[12] Udaltsov was arrested by a squad of masked commandos on 17 October.[11] Razvozzhayev fled to Kiev, Ukraine, to apply for asylum, but was allegedly kidnapped by security forces, returned to Moscow, tortured, and made to sign a confession implicating himself, Udaltsov, and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny.[13][14]

On 26 October, Udaltsov was charged with plotting riots.[15] An SK spokesman also accused him of an attempt "to plan and prepare terrorist acts and other actions threatening the life and health of Russians", and suggested that he could face life imprisonment.[11] The Associated Press described the charges as continuation of "a widespread crackdown on the movement against President Vladimir Putin".[16]

Udaltsov was arrested again on 27 October along with Navalny and Ilya Yashin while attempting to join a protest against Razvozzhayev's alleged kidnapping and torture. The three were charged with violating public order, for which they could be fined up to 30,000 rubles (US$1,000) or given 50 hours of community service.[17]

December 2012 arrest in Lubyanka Square[edit]

Udaltsov and Navalny were among those arrested at a protest in Lubyanka Square on December 15, 2012. According to press reports, about 2,000 protesters had gathered, despite being threatened with huge fines for participating in an unsanctioned demonstration. Russian lawmaker Dmitri Gudkov was quoted as saying, "There is still protest and we want change, and they can’t frighten us with detention or pressure or searches or arrests or anything else."[18]

Political views[edit]

In a January 2012 interview, Udaltsov called for "a direct democracy, where the people would have their say through fair and transparent referendums, where they could interact with authorities using the Internet, where they could have a say in social reforms." According to Udaltsov: "We are not nostalgic about the Soviet Union, we do not argue for a return to a centrally planned economy where social initiative was stifled, but we do want to preserve what was good in the Soviet system while adopting new paths to development; we want to see the social-democratic development of Russia."[19]

He served as a campaign manager for Communist Party of the Russian Federation candidate Gennady Zyuganov during the 2012 presidential election.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Sergei is married to Anastasiya Udaltsova, a press officer for Left Front. They are known as the "revolutionary couple" of Russian politics.[20] Together they have two sons, Ivan (born in 2002) and Oleg (born in 2005).[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Tom Parfitt (17 December 2011). "Vladimir Putin's persecution campaign targets protest couple". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  2. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21396480
  3. ^ http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/udaltsov-hit-with-new-charges/481978.html
  4. ^ "Opposition Leader Held for Protest Attempt" (PDF). Amnesty International. 13 December 2011. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Ellen Barry; Michael Schwirtz (6 May 2012). "Arrests and Violence at Overflowing Rally in Moscow". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Michael Schwirtz (11 May 2012). "A Russian Protest Leader Takes Center Stage". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Police keep anti-Putin protesters on the run". Yahoo News. 8 May 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Amnesty Calls Navalny, Udaltsov 'Prisoners Of Conscience'". Radio Free Europe. 18 May 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  9. ^ a b David M. Herzenhorn (22 October 2012). "Opposition Figure Wanted in Russia Says He Was Kidnapped and Tortured". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Q&A: Russian opposition plot allegations". BBC News. 26 October 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c David M. Herszenhorn (18 October 2012). "Russia accuses opposition activist of riot plots ; Arrest appears to step up efforts to bring charges against Putin's critics". International Herald Tribune.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Russia must investigate claims Leonid Razvozzhayev was abducted and tortured". Amnesty International. 24 October 2012. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Ellen Barry (26 October 2012). "Russian Opposition Figure Says Abductors Threatened His Children". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Amnesty International could declare Leonid Razvozzhayev prisoner of conscience". interfax.com.ua. 25 October 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Putin's opponent charged with plotting riots". Al Jazeera. 26 October 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "Sergei Udaltsov". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 18 October 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Maria Tsvetkova and Gleb Bryanski (27 October 2012). "Russia activists detained after opposition council meets". Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  18. ^ DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and ANDREW E. KRAMER (December 15, 2012). "Protesters in Moscow Stage New Demonstration". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Claudia Ciobanu (21 January 2012). "Repression May Lead to Revolt". Inter Press Service. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "Russia faces to watch: Sergei and Anastasia Udaltsov". BBC. 29 February 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.