MOSCOW, April 11 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) – The list of suspects in the controversial investigation into last year’s riots at an anti-Kremlin rally in Moscow is much longer than previously announced, an opposition website said on Thursday.
The Investigative Committee currently has 86 suspects in addition to the 26 people already arrested, charged or convicted over the case, Bolotnoedelo.info said.
But mass arrests are unlikely because investigators only have surveillance footage of the suspects in the Bolotnaya Square, where police and protesters clashed in May 2012, the report said.
Bolotnoedelo.info published grainy closeups of the people in the “risk group,” some of them in the act of throwing objects or waving around various items allegedly used to assault police.
The information came from a source at the Investigative Committee, the website’s author, Pavel Yelizarov of the opposition movement Solidarity, told RIA Novosti.
“I don’t think they’re really doing any investigative action, but investigators keep these people in mind and may detain them if they identify them,” Yelizarov said.
Yelizarov spoke by telephone from Mozambique, where he said he moved to after investigators searched his own home last year as part of the probe into the Bolotnaya case.
The Investigative Committee, which only communicates with the press by fax, did not return a request for comment in time for publication.
The opposition rally on May 6, 2012, which was in protest at alleged fraud at the presidential elections in March that year, won by Vladimir Putin, gathered about 8,000 protesters by the police’s estimates, or 100,000, according to its organizers.
About 650 people were detained according to Moscow police after protesters, stuck at the entrance to the square in a bottleneck created by a police cordon, clashed with them.
Most were released, but a case soon followed into what the investigators called mass riots. The probe is ongoing.
The riot allegations are hotly disputed by the opposition, which blames the police for provoking the clashes and claims the case is political.
The 26 people implicated in the case so far include protesters from all walks of life, from students to pensioners. Only two pleaded guilty, one of whom was sentenced to four and a half years in November.
Among the known suspects is firebrand leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov, who is accused of conspiring with Georgian politicians to overthrow the Russian government through street riots, including on Bolotnaya Square. He is currently under house arrest.