Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov appears in court
where he was put under house arrest charged with plotting
mass disorder in protests against President Vladimir Putin.
Prominent Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov,
charged with plotting mass disorder in protests last year, has
been placed under house arrest by a Moscow court.
The leftist was among several opposition figures charged with
riots and violence against police during a protest against
President Vladimir Putin last May on the eve of his
inauguration for a third presidential term.
The Federal Investigative Committee, which answers only to
Putin, had barred Udaltsov from travelling freely but said on
Friday that he was not complying with that.
The court put Udaltsov under house arrest until April 6.
The shaven-headed Udaltsov has been repeatedly detained
during opposition protests, in what his supporters say is a
tactic intended to hamper his activism.
On Thursday, another opposition activist was arrested over
the May protests. That brought to 12 the total number of
people detained and awaiting trial. One person has already
been convicted over the May unrest.
Meanwhile, Russian police have detained 271 people, most of
them from the North Caucasus and central Asia, in an
investigation into involvement in "terrorist activities",
authorities in St Petersburg said.
Russia is concerned that Islamist militants could become a
greater threat outside the heavily Muslim North Caucasus
region, plagued by an insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet
separatist wars in the republic of Chechnya.
In a statement, the regional investigative committee in St
Petersburg said that most detainees were from the North
Caucasus and the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. An Egyptian and an Afghan were
The committee said they were detained "in order to check if
they had legal grounds for being in St Petersburg and their
possible involvement in terrorist activities."
They were detained during an overnight raid on St
Petersburg's oldest market.
Authorities said security forces had been searching for
extremist literature, weapons, drugs and documents related to
a recently-launched criminal case in connection with "public
justification of terrorism and incitement of hatred".
The authorities did not say whether any of those detained
were suspected of involvement in plotting or carrying out
Many market traders in Russian cities are from the North
Caucasus or central Asia.
Local media said police had initially detained 700 people.