Anti-Putin Activist Disappears From Moscow Home, Resurfaces In Police Custody
The Independent reports that Pyotr Verlizov, a prominent Russian opposition figure, disappeared from his Moscow home on the morning of June 21 and emerged from police custody over 13 hours later that evening.
- Verzilov has “elighted in irritating the Kremlin and Russia’s conservative wing,” the Independent reports. He helped found MediaZona, a website focused on law, order, rights, and abuses. The Independent explains that MediaZona has stood for “brave investigations into the darkest areas of Russian state and society.”
- Police apparently arrested Verzilov on the morning of June 21. Verzilov messaged friends to say that something was ramming his apartment door and went incommunicado thereafter.
- Neighbors reported seeing about ten men go to his apartment. When his landlord went to check on him, he found the apartment empty and the door’s locks destroyed.
- The Independent notes that a “pro-Kremlin social media network” later posted a photo depicting “Verzilov in his home looking through documents, with an unidentified man sitting alongside him.”
- After his release that evening, Verzilov released a brief video statement. He said that officers interrogated him about demonstrations that took place in the summer of 2019 to protest against Moscow city election gerrymandering. Verzilov said that he was in Estonia at the time in question.
- Verzilov has ultimately been charged with swearing in public and with disturbing the peace. The penalty is either 15 days in jail or a 1000 rouble fine.