On 12 March, Sergei Mitrokhin, an elected member of the Yabloko faction in the Moscow City Duma, was detained and a separate meeting of more than 170 municipal deputies was interrupted by police during the weekend as intimidation efforts increase ahead of September’s scheduled Parliamentary elections in Russia.
Sergei Mitrokhin, the former party leader of ALDE member party Yabloko and a current member of parliament in the Moscow City Duma, was detained by police on Friday 12 March as he was meeting with voters from the Moscow district Kamushki. He will appear in court on Thursday morning charged with repeated violation of the order of conducting a public event, namely, the unpermitted rally for the release of political prisoners and Alexei Navalny that took place on 23 January where Mitrokhin was present as a Moscow MP and an observer so as to prevent police violence.
The next day, police disrupted the Forum of Municipal Deputies event held in Moscow, and detained more than 170 legal representatives of citizens. Among this number were Moscow City Duma deputy Mikhail Timonov, deputy of the St.Peterburg city parliament Maxim Reznik, a number of municipal deputies elected from the Yabloko party, Moscow municipal deputies Ilya Yashin and Yulia Galyamina and many well-known and respected political figures and journalists such as Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.
In a statement, Maxim Kruglov, the head of the Yabloko faction in the Moscow City Duma, said: “This is an obvious planned attack by the security forces on the city self-government, and an attempt to intimidate deputies of all levels who are independent of the government.”
“In 2019, we were elected by free and independent Muscovites. The elections were not easy: citizens fought for our admission to the campaign, put their signatures in our support, helped to collect these signatures, sought their recognition through rallies, and helped for days as observers over counting of the votes. Those few of us who could not be stopped through the administrative resource and manipulation of voting, are today facing the government’s attempt to neutralise us with openly forceful and unlawful methods, brushing away the principle of parliamentary immunity and democratic norms. We demand an end to the persecution of participants in the Forum of Municipal Deputies and an end to repressions against Sergei Mitrokhin and Yekaterina Yengalycheva, and an investigation in regard of the law enforcement officers who committed these violations.”
Grigory Yavlinsky, Chairman of the Federal Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO, has reacted to these developments, writing “For every man, there’s a law to convict him under”.