The former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement founded by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has reportedly been removed from a plane in St. Petersburg and detained.
Andrei Pivovarov “is being taken to the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee in St. Petersburg on Moskovsky Prospekt,” colleagues wrote in a Twitter post.
“He was detained in the framework of a criminal case under Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code” related to repeated alleged violations of the law on “undesirable organizations.”
Pivovarov “is allegedly on the wanted list. This is what caused the arrest,” according to Tatyana Usmanova, a former coordinator with Open Russia.
Pivovarov was detained at Pulkovo Airport. The flight he was removed from was said to be heading to Warsaw.
There was no immediate comment from Russian authorities.
Open Russia said on May 27 that it had decided to end its operations to protect its members from the risk of being prosecuted.
Activists of the Russia-based civic organization have regularly faced pressure from the authorities since its designation as an “undesirable organization” by Russian prosecutors in 2017, including administrative and criminal charges.
The “undesirable organization” law, adopted in May 2015, was part of a series of regulations pushed by the Kremlin that squeezed many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that received funding from foreign sources — mainly from Europe and the United States.