Russia’s powerful federal Investigative Committee said on February 14 it had filed criminal charges against Givi Targamadze, a Georgian lawmaker from President Saakashvili’s UNM party, for allegedly conspiring with Russian opposition activists in plotting riots in Moscow last year.
The Investigative Committee said that charges were filed under the first part of article 30 of the Russian criminal code, which involves “crime preparation” and first part of article 212 of the same code, involving “organizing mass riots, accompanied by violence”, which carries a prison term from four to ten years.
“Today the investigation declared Targamadze wanted,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement on February 14. “Investigators will file a motion to the court requesting his arrest in absentia.”
As a parliamentarian, Targamadze enjoys with legislative immunity. Georgian law bans detention of a lawmaker without Parliament’s approval.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said on December 13, 2012 that it possessed evidence “confirming” that MP Targamadze was “not only financing the Russian opposition, but also had concrete role in organizing mass disorders” on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in May, 2012. Targamadze at the time was the chairman of parliamentary committee for defense and security.
Also in December Russian news website Lifenews.ru released audio recording of what it said was a conversation between MP Targamadze and two Russian opposition activists Leonid Razvozzhayev and Konstantin Lebedev, an aide to opposition Left Front movement leader Sergei Udaltsov, who purportedly were discussing organizing protest rallies in Moscow. Razvozzhayev is in pre-trial detention and court in Moscow ordered on February 13 to release Lebedev from pre-trial detention and to put him under house arrest; the both are facing charges over plotting mass riots.
In October, 2012 Russia’s Investigative Committee launched criminal proceedings against Sergei Udaltsov, a leader of protests against President Putin, and several other opposition activists.
Udaltsov was accused of plotting to organize mass riots with the help of “foreign citizens” – allegations stemming from a television documentary, which was aired by NTV, the TV channel owned by the Russian state-controlled monopoly Gazprom.
The documentary, Anatomy of a Protest – 2, includes what seems to be a secretly recorded video footage apparently showing Georgian MP Givi Targamadze meeting with some of the Russian protest leaders, allegedly also including Udaltsov; the documentary claimed that participants of the meeting were plotting large-scale disturbances in Russia with the goal to topple President Putin.
According to the Russian Investigative Committee that meeting took place in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in June, 2012.
Targamadze has denied any involvement calling it “Putin’s fabricated propaganda”. Udaltsov has also denied having links with MP Targamadze.