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MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – One man was reported charged on Monday with promoting terrorism and at least seven others were deported from among the 300 people held after a police swoop in St. Petersburg on Friday.
Masked police raided Islamic prayer rooms in St. Petersburg’s downtown historic Apraksin Dvor market and several apartments around Russia’s second-largest city, seizing suspected extremist material.
Among those held was Murat Sarbashev, 34, from Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, suspected of distributing extremist literature online between 2010 and 2011 and posting videos of terrorist attacks. He was arrested and charged on Monday with inciting hatred and terrorism-related charges, St. Petersburg-based Fontanka.Ru news site reported.
Joint security forces detained foreigners from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as well as residents of Russia’s North Caucasus in the special operation in city, on suspicion extremism and migration law violations.
“As of today seven of them have been deported to CIS countries,” a spokeswoman from St. Petersburg’s branch of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) told RIA Novosti on Monday. She declined to say whether more detainees will be deported. Some 30 of those held detained had violated the migration laws, the FMS reported on Saturday.
The raid follows a recent criminal probe into "public justification of terrorism and incitement of hatred," the Investigative Committee said in a statement.
The operation also follows investigation of a new social network page called “Petersburg Jamaat” (Petersburg Group), which contains "extremist appeals and audio reports containing speeches by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov," Fontanka.Ru said, citing security sources.
St.Petersburg investigators could not be reached for comment on Monday morning.
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The clash of Russian and Western interests has given rise to a geopolitical battle. German politicians are trying to leave all doors and windows open for dialogue with Russia. Moscow does acknowledge this, and Germany is probably the only country with which it is ready to discuss European security.