Russian police detained one of the last dissidents still in the country and not behind bars on Wednesday after he allegedly criticized Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Politician Yevhen Roizman, former mayor of the Ural city of Yekaterinburg, was detained for “discrediting” the Russian army in comments about Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.
“The suspect was detained in Yekaterinburg and will be taken to Moscow for investigation,” the Moscow Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia said in a statement.
It said he faces criminal charges for “discrediting” the Russian army and will be taken to Moscow as part of the investigation.
The accused face up to 10 years in prison.
A dozen armed police in camouflage raided the home of a 59-year-old man on Wednesday, according to a video posted on the Mash Telegram channel, which is believed to be close to Russian intelligence services.
His lawyer Vladislav Idamzhapov later told the state agency TASS that Roizman was detained for 48 hours.
Moscow police said that Roizman posted a video on the network, “the content of which discredits the use” of the Russian armed forces.
A police source, previously quoted by TASS, said that the video was published on the politician’s YouTube channel.
In a video taken outside his apartment on Wednesday, Roizman told reporters he was accused of using the word “invasion” to describe what Russia calls its military operation in Ukraine.
Roizman has already been fined three times for criticizing Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
In a recent interview with the AFP agency, Roizman said that he “has no illusions” and understands that he is at risk of arrest for his views.
“But I’m not afraid either,” he said.
Roizman was a deputy from 2003 to 2007. In 2013, he became Russia’s most prominent opposition mayor and held the position for five years.
Last year, he was sentenced to nine days in prison for calling for participation in demonstrations in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Almost all known political opponents of President Vladimir Putin have either fled the country or are in prison.
Recently, two opponents who remained in Russia, councilor Ilya Yashin and activist Uladzimir Kara-Murza, were detained for condemning the conflict in Ukraine, they face up to 10 years in prison.