Sergei Stanislavovich Udaltsov (Russian Wp→: Сергей Станиславович Удальцов; born 16 February 1977) is a Russian political activist and leader of the Left Front movement. As of December, 2011 Udaltsov was in detention and on hunger strike in protest at his conditions.
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".
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 Wp→ 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 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."
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 initative 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."
Sergei is married to Anastasiya Udaltsova, a press officer for Left Front. They are known as the "revolutionary couple" of Russian politics. Together they have two sons, Ivan (born in 2002) and Oleg (born in 2005).
- Vladimir Putin's persecution campaign targets protest couple, Guardian, retrieved 17/12/2011
- Opposition Leader Held for Protest Attempt. Amnesty International. URL accessed on 26 December 2011.
- David M. Herzenhorn. Opposition Figure Wanted in Russia Says He Was Kidnapped and Tortured. The New York Times. URL accessed on 22 October 2012.
- Q&A: Russian opposition plot allegations. BBC News. URL accessed on 26 October 2012.
- David M. Herszenhorn. 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 Wp→ (subscription required). URL accessed on 26 October 2012.
- Russia must investigate claims Leonid Razvozzhayev was abducted and tortured. Amnesty International. URL accessed on 22 October 2012.
- Ellen Barry. Russian Opposition Figure Says Abductors Threatened His Children. The New York Times. URL accessed on 22 October 2012.
- Amnesty International could declare Leonid Razvozzhayev prisoner of conscience. interfax.com.ua. URL accessed on 26 October 2012.
- Putin's opponent charged with plotting riots. Al Jazeera. URL accessed on 26 October 2012.
- Sergei Udaltsov. Associated Press – via HighBeam Research Wp→ (subscription required). URL accessed on 26 October 2012.
- Maria Tsvetkova and Gleb Bryanski. Russia activists detained after opposition council meets. Reuters. URL accessed on 27 October 2012.
- DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and ANDREW E. KRAMER. "Protesters in Moscow Stage New Demonstration", New York Times, December 15, 2012.
- Claudia Ciobanu. Repression May Lead to Revolt. Inter Press Service. URL accessed on 4 April 2012.
- Michael Schwirtz. "A Russian Protest Leader Takes Center Stage", 11 May 2012. Retrieved on 12 May 2012.
- Russia faces to watch: Sergei and Anastasia Udaltsov. BBC. URL accessed on 4 April 2012.
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