KIEV, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s migration authorities have refused to grant political asylum to a Russian opposition activist who fears persecution in Russia over his alleged involvement in instigating mass riots last year at a rally against President Vladimir Putin.
Filipp Galtsov, a 19-year-old member of the opposition Russian Socialist Movement, fled Russia in January and immediately filed an asylum petition with the Kiev office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“Galtsov was denied refugee status two days ago,” UNHCR regional representative Oldrich Andrysek said. “As far as I know, his lawyer is planning to appeal the decision.”
It is unclear whether Russia would ask Ukraine for Galtsov's extradition. Ukraine has satisfied most of Russia's requests for extradition of suspected criminals in the past.
Ukraine's State Migration Service earlier denied refugee status to other activists allegedly involved in the so-called Bolotnaya riot case, including Other Russia activist Alexei Devyatkin, journalist Jenny Curpen and Solidarity opposition movement member Mikhail Maglov.
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied on central Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012, one day before Putin was sworn in for a third presidency.
Moscow authorities have said that more than 400 protesters were detained after allegedly injuring dozens of police officers, including by pelting them with pieces of asphalt.
Russian investigators opened a probe against nearly 30 people, including opposition leaders Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev, after the pro-Kremlin NTV channel aired footage last October that it said showed Russian opposition members meeting with an influential Georgian politician, Givi Targamadze, to plot the destabilization of Russia.