Former Russian mayor arrested on charges of discrediting Vladimir Putin’s army

Former mayor of Yekaterinburg arrested amid new crackdown on war critics

Katy Clifton
Wednesday 24 August 2022 09:34 BST
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Former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman
Former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman (AP)

The former mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city has been arrested on charges of discrediting Vladimir Putin’s army.

Yevgeny Roizman, who served as the mayor of Yekaterinburg between 2013 and 2018, was arrested following searches at his apartment and office.

It comes as part of a new crackdown on critics of Moscow’s war, which began exactly six months ago on 24 February.

Mr Roizman told reporters he was charged under a new law adopted after Russia invaded. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Russian courts fined the 59-year-old earlier this year on similar charges.

Officers stand guard outside the office of Yevgeny Roizman's charity fund in Yekaterinburg
Officers stand guard outside the office of Yevgeny Roizman's charity fund in Yekaterinburg (Reuters)

Mr Roizman, a sharp critic of the Kremlin, is one of the most visible and charismatic opposition figures in Russia.

During his tenure as mayor, he enjoyed broad popularity in Yekaterniburg, a city of 1.5 million people in the Ural Mountains.

As police escorted him from his apartment on Wednesday morning, Mr Roizman said he is likely to be taken to Moscow for investigation.

Russian opposition figure and former mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman
Russian opposition figure and former mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman (AFP via Getty Images)

Days after Russian president Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine, Russia’s parliament approved legislation which outlawed disparaging the military and the spread of “false information” about what the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation” in the neighbouring country.

Courts have given fines and prison sentences to individuals who have criticised Russian action in Ukraine.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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