MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – A leftist activist who says he was tortured into confessing to a plot to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin gave investigators money supplied by the influential Georgian politician who financed the alleged conspiracy, according to the final page of the activist’s disputed confession published in the Russian media on Monday.
“I have taken the decision to confess as I realize that I have committed a crime ordered by the Georgian political elite, and I consider myself a patriot,” activist Leonid Razvozzhayev wrote last month in a ten-page confession, which he has since retracted. “I want to hand over the money given to me ($3,300).” The last page of the letter was published in The New Times magazine.
Razvozzhayev, an activist from the Left Front opposition movement, told human rights workers who visited him in a Moscow pre-trial detention center almost a week after his confession that he had been abducted by “masked men” as he applied for political asylum at a UN office in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
He said his abductors had held him in the basement of an abandoned building for two days without food or water. “They told me: ‘If you don’t answer our questions, your children will be killed,’” he told the rights workers, including a staff writer with The New Times. “The aim was to make me sign a confession.”
Russian investigators say Razvozzhayev reported to their Moscow headquarters on October 21 and that he was in his “right mind” when he signed the confession.
Razvozzhayev’s confession also incriminated Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov and another activist, Konstantin Lebedev, in the alleged plot. His confession says the money was given to him by Lebedev, who received the funds from Georgian politician Givi Targamadze.
Udaltsov was charged on October 26 with planning mass disorder, and released on a pledge not to leave Moscow. Lebedev has been in custody since early last month. All three suspects face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty.
The charges against the three men stem from grainy footage aired by the pro-Kremlin NTV channel earlier this month. NTV said the clip showed Udaltsov, Razvozzhayev and Lebedev meeting Targamadze to discuss how to destabilize Russia. The documentary also alleged that Udaltsov had considered bringing in Chechen fighters to assist with the plot.
Udaltsov claims the footage is fake and that the documentary is part of a wave of repression against Putin’s political opponents.
The Kremlin has declined to comment on the case.