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Court Releases Bolotnaya 'Traitor' on Parole

Published: April 25, 2014 (Issue # 1807)



  • Opposition activists Alexei Gaskarov and Ilya Guschin standing behind bars in a court room before the hearings.
    Photo: Pavel Golovkin / AP

A Moscow court on Thursday released Russian opposition activist Konstantin Lebedev on parole before the end of his 2 ½ year sentence.

The Lefortovo Court made the ruling after deciding that an appeal for parole by Lebedev's lawyers was legally grounded, judge Margarita Kotova said, Itar-Tass reported.

Lebedev, along with activists Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev of the Left Front political coalition, and Georgian politician Givi Targamadze, were charged in absentia for masterminding what the Kremlin says were "riots" on Moscow's Bolotnaya Ploshchad on May 6, 2012, the day before Vladimir Putin was sworn in his third term as Russian president.

Lebedev, who took a plea agreement with the prosecution, testified against Udaltsov and Razvozzhayev in March, saying that organizers of the protest had received more than $150,000 from their supporters.

Lebedev testified that some of these funds had arrived through Targamadze, who was based in Lithuania, giving credence to the Kremlin's claims that Western and pro-Western governments had orchestrated the protest.

Some protesters have accused Lebedev of being a "traitor" for having made the plea agreement, while others have dismissed the accusation.

"I do not think that anybody betrayed anyone in this case because there was no one to betray," Maria Baronova, a fellow Bolotnaya participant who was amnestied in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution in December, told The St. Petersburg Times. "I am not aware whether anyone took any money from the West, but Konstantin Lebedev himself said that he took money from Givi Targamadze."

In April of last year, Lebedev was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison after the plea bargain was arranged. Prosecutors had initially demanded a five-year prison term, which was shortened when Lebedev pleaded guilty to the charges.

On Thursday he told the judge that his days of "dangerous thinking," participating in "riots" and "living off the funds of foreign governments" were in the past, RIA Novosti reported. "From now on I will work honestly," he said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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