Russian Police Raid Opposition Leaders’ Homes Ahead of Protest

Posted June 11th, 2012 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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Russian police and investigators have raided the homes of several opposition leaders on the eve of a planned protest in Moscow.

The Federal Investigative Committee said in a statement Monday the searches targeted the organizers of an earlier rally, held last month to protest against President Vladimir Putin.

The statement named Alexei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, who both spent 15 days in jail last month for demonstrating against Mr. Putin's inauguration, as well as Ilya Yashin, another activist previously detained during a protest. Russia's main investigation agency said it planned to conduct about 10 searches Monday.

Opposition leaders are hoping to draw a large crowd for Tuesday's protest, which comes days after Mr. Putin signed into law a bill dramatically raising fines for people involved in unauthorized rallies.

Organizers of illegal protests now face up to $30,000 in fines, while individual protesters could face a fine of up to $9,000 or as many as 200 hours of community service.

Mr. Putin was elected to a record third presidential term in March. He served from 2000 to 2008 before becoming prime minister under former president Dmitry Medvedev.

A constitutional amendment has extended the president's term in office to two consecutive six-year terms, meaning Mr. Putin could stay in power until 2024.