Dueling narratives on the mysterious fate of a Russian opposition figure
How badly did Russian authorities want to nab Leonid Razvozzhayev? To answer that question, you will need to separate the Kremlin's virtual reality from, well, actual reality.
First the virtual, I mean official, version -- courtesy of the Investigative Committee.
Razvozzhayev, an aide to opposition State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, surrendered to authorities and voluntarily wrote a 10-page, handwritten statement admitting that he, Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, and Udaltsov aide Konstantin Lebedev conspired to provoke mass unrest in Russia.
The operation, according to Razvozzhayev's alleged confession, was financed by former Georgian lawmaker Givi Targamadze. The allegations are based on a report, "Anatomy of a Protest -- 2," that was broadcast on October 5 on the Kremlin-friendly NTV television station. (As I blogged last week, NTV is quickly becoming Siloviki TV, the security services' media outlet of choice to smear opposition figures before prosecuting them.)
This official version was already in doubt even before the Investigative Committee made its announcement on October 22. Earlier in the day, reports surfaced in Kyiv that Razvozzhayev, who had earlier fled to the Ukrainian capital, had been snatched off the street days earlier and had disappeared.