Vladimir Kara-Murza: Prominent Russian anti-war activist held

Opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza repeatedly criticised Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, testifies during a Commission On Security And Cooperation hearing to discuss the legacy of and justice for for slain Russian political opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Vladimir Kara-Murza said he twice survived attempts to poison him [File: Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Russian opposition politician and critic of President Vladimir Putin, has been arrested outside his Moscow home.

His lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov, said Kara-Murza was set to stay in police custody overnight on Tuesday.

He was charged with failing to follow a lawful order from a police official, a charge that carries a penalty of up to 15 days in prison.

No other details were immediately available, but the 40-year-old has repeatedly criticised Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine and launched an anti-war committee with other Russian leading opposition figures.

Kara-Murza is a former journalist close to opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oligarch turned critic of Putin.

He claimed he twice  – in 2015 and 2017 – narrowly survived mysterious poisonings and blamed the Russian secret service for them.

Despite the incidents, he continued to live in Russia, where many opposition figures have opted for exile, notably after the jailing last year of Alexey Navalny, the leading Kremlin critic.

On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a Twitter post that, “The United States is troubled by Russian authorities’ detention today in Moscow of prominent civil society leader Vladimir Kara-Murza.

“We are monitoring this situation closely and urge his immediate release.”

Russian authorities have recently tightened the screws on critics of what they call a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Publishing information about the military deemed false by the government is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by an all-out crackdown in Russia, with thousands of protesters arrested, as well as the closure of NGOs, independent media and several social networks.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies