YAROSLAVL, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russian opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov is under investigation for publicly inciting “extremist activity,” local prosecutors told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
Prosecutors in Yaroslavl did not indicate which statements concerned them, but Boris Nemtsov, who is co-leader of the Parnas opposition party and a local lawmaker, links this to a speech he gave on Sept. 5.
Nemtsov warned readers that saying “freeing Russia of crooks and thieves will start in Yaroslavl,” is now considered “extremist” and punishable by up to five years in jail, according to his Tuesday's Facebook post.
Nemtsov used the phrase in his address to a rally in the Volga River city on Sept. 5, during which he urged locals to collect signatures on a petition to release the city’s former mayor, who is under arrest on extortion and bribery charges.
A representative of the Yaroslavl region prosecutor’s office said that Nemtsov is being probed for alleged “public calls for extremist actions made using the mass media.”
If convicted, under Russian law, he faces up to up to five years in jail and a three-year ban on holding certain jobs.
Nemtsov, who won his seat in the Yaroslavl regional parliament in the Sept. 8 election, claims in his Facebook post that – if found guilty – he will automatically lose the right to be a lawmaker.
Opposition leader and anti-corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny popularized the use of the phrase “crooks and thieves” to denote the ruling party United Russia.
Nemtsov served as Russia’s deputy prime minister in 1997-1998 in President Boris Yeltsin’s government and was briefly touted as ailing Yeltsin’s possible successor. After Vladimir Putin succeeded Yeltsin in 1999, Nemtsov became his vocal critic.
Nemtsov’s Parnas party is part of the non-parliamentary opposition, a handful of fractured groups that remain on the margins of mainstream politics.
Updated correcting reference to Nemtsov's former position in 1st graf
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- bielecTheory of (Political) Relativity16:12, 17/09/2013Quote: - "Boris Nemtsov is under investigation for publicly inciting “extremist activity." -
Didn't Lenin do this, too? And, for over 70 years, he had hundreds of monuments across Russia for doing it.
The world is strange. It all depends on the outside circumstances, not on what you did.
- ScepticalWrong Dates16:14, 17/09/2013Putin succeeded Yeltsin in 2000 not 1999
- PR101Crooks and Thieves16:21, 17/09/2013You would think that everyone would be in favor of getting rid of crooks and thieves, except the crooks and thieves.
- bielecThat's true17:08, 17/09/2013And most of those who fight crooks and thieves promptly become crooks and thieves, as soon as they win and gain power. Human nature.
- gunshipdemocracythat's why crooks and thiefs are supported by US embassy21:26, 17/09/2013vide: Navalny, criminal Xodorkovsky to mention a few
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.