|Sergei Udaltsov |
|Chairman of the |
Vanguard of Red Youth
Assumed office |
4 May 1999
|Chairman of the |
Russian United Labour Front
Assumed office |
22 February 2010
Udaltsov Sergey Stanislavovich|
16 February 1977
Anastasia Udaltsova, |
Ivan (born in 2002)
Oleg (born in 2005)
Sergei Stanislavovich Udaltsov (Russian: Серге́й Станиславович Удальцов; born 16 February 1977) is a Russian political activist. He is the unofficial leader of the Vanguard of Red Youth (AKM). In 2011 and 2012, he helped lead a series of protests against Vladimir Putin. In 2014 he has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in a penal camp for organizing the May 2012 protest which ended in violence between the police and demonstrators.
December 2011 arrest
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. 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.
In December Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release. One of Udaltsov's lawyers, Violetta Volkova, applied to the European Court of Human Rights for his release, claiming a list of procedural violations.
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. 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".
May 2012 demonstrations
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. Adoption 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.
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. In response, Amnesty International again designated him (as well as Navalny) a prisoner of conscience.
October 2012 conspiracy charge
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. 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. Udaltsov denied the documentary's accusations on Twitter, calling it "dirt and lies" and a "provocation whose ultimate objective is to justify my arrest".
Following the broadcast, an SK spokesman stated that the government was considering terrorism charges against Udaltsov on the basis of the video, and Razvozzhayev, Udaltsov, and Konstantin Lebedev, an assistant of Udaltsov's, were charged with "plotting mass disturbances". Udaltsov was arrested by a squad of masked commandos on 17 October. 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.
On 26 October, Udaltsov was charged with plotting riots. 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. The Associated Press described the charges as continuation of "a widespread crackdown on the movement against President Vladimir Putin".
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.
December 2012 arrest in Lubyanka Square
Udaltsov and Navalny were among those arrested at a protest in Lubyanka Square on 15 December 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."
On 24 July 2014 a court in Moscow sentenced Udaltsov and his co-defendant Leonid Razvozzhayev to 4 1/2 years in a penal camp for organizing the May 2012 protest which ended in violence between the police and demonstrators. After that Udaltsov has gone on hunger strike to protest the sentence.
Udaltsov was released from prison on August 2017. Upon his release, he called on left-leaning parties to unite behind a single candidate at the 2018 presidential elections. He ruled out, however, future cooperation with other well-known opposition organizations and politicians such as Aleksey Navalny who, in his words, were "flirting with the West."
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."
Udaltsov supports the annexation of Crimea and the "people's republics" in eastern Ukraine. About Crimea's referendum, he declared, "I am a Soviet patriot and consider the destruction of the Soviet Union the greatest mistake and a crime. Therefore, I regard the absorption of Crimea to be a small but important step towards the revival of a renewed [Soviet] Union." In 2017, he explained: "I supported the decision of the citizens of Crimea, as I am confident — I have information from different sources — that it was indeed their decision, the will of the people, to be with Russia. And I, as a man of left, democratic views, cannot contradict it, I cannot oppose it. The Crimeans wanted it. Whether it was right or not, it's their decision. Democracy is democracy".
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