Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov has emphatically denied the claims against him made in “Anatomy of a Protest 2,” an investigative report broadcast on the state-owned NTV television network on Friday.
The expose claims that members of the opposition are using money from abroad to finance preparations for a seizure of power.
"This is simply slander," Udaltsov told RIA Novosti.
The program shows a meeting, apparently recorded on a hidden camera, between Udaltsov and Givi Targamadze, the chairman of Georgia’s parliamentary committee for defense and security.
The narrator describes Targamadze as an individual with experience organizing the “color revolutions” of the past decade that swept opposition leaders into power in Georgia and Ukraine amid mass protests over election-rigging allegations.
The meeting is presented as a planning session to discuss a takeover of power in Russia and the sources of financing for the effort.
Udaltsov, the coordinator of the Left Front movement, told RIA Novosti he had not seen the broadcast but emphatically rejected its claims.
“I categorically deny receiving money sponsored from abroad, not to mention preparing any violent acts," he said.
"Our lawyers will look at it – I don’t watch this filth on principle. If they find grounds for it, of course we will file the appropriate lawsuits.”
But officials from Russia’s Public Chamber were inclined to believe the program’s claims.
“I have no reason to believe this is some kind of fabrication,” the Public Chamber’s Alexander Kanyshin, told RIA Novosti.
“It seems to me to be serious material that is something for the special services to be thinking about, and for state bodies and public organizations,” said Kanyshin, who is chairman of the commission on national security and veterans affairs.
“The FSB, SVR and NAK ought to take joint action and root this out,” he said, referring to the Federal Security Service, Foreign Intelligence Service and National Antiterrorist Committee respectively.
Another Public Chamber member, Georgi Fyodorov, said the program made it clear that the meetings with Georgian officials were not isolated incidents.
“This is a strategic, well-established line, where specific goals are set for our opposition to achieve,” he said.
The first installment of “Anatomy of a Protest,” broadcast in March, focused on the "Big White Circle" protest on February 26 and claimed that many people were paid to attend the human-chain event, which involved tens of thousands of opposition supporters.