In Moscow, police conducted at least 15 searches at the homes of relatives, close friends and supporters of rival Alexei Navalny, who were in custody after returning to Russia from Germany.
The searches took place in the apartment of his wife Navalny, in the office of the Anti-Corruption Fund he leads, in the “Navalny Live” studio, and at the home of his detained lawyer Lyubov Sopolin, who was detained for 48 hours.
Police searched and searched other supporters of the Russian opposition and confiscated electronics and equipment.
At the end of last week, in support of Alexei Navalny, representatives of the Anti-Corruption Fund said that most searches were carried out in the criminal case that was opened for violating health and epidemiological regulations during the big protests. The penalty for violating the respective provisions of the Criminal Code is imprisonment for up to two years, and for situations in which human beings are harmed, the sentence is up to seven years.
On Thursday, Alexei Navalny’s supporters are anticipating new searches, ahead of new protests announced by the Russian opposition on Sunday, January 31st.
Protests in more than 100 cities on Saturday, January 23, were the largest in Russia in recent years, with an estimated 250,000 people taking part, according to opposition estimates. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing more than 3,500 protesters by truck. Violent repression of law enforcement protests has been condemned by the United States and the European Union, which are exploring the possibility of imposing sanctions.