Russian opposition figure leaves country for Ukraine

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Dmitry Gudkov

In this photo taken from video, Russian opposition activist Dmitry Gudkov gestures speaking to the media as police search at his country home outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Russian authorities are cracking down on dissent before a crucial parliamentary election in September, in what a leading Kremlin critic on Tuesday described as an attempt to sideline opponents. Also on Tuesday, police raided the country home of opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov, a former lawmaker who has aspired to run for parliament. At least two of his associates also had their homes searched.(AP Photo/Daniel Kozin)

MOSCOW (AP) — A well-known Russian opposition politician who was held in police custody for two days last week in a criminal investigation said Sunday that he has left the country for Ukraine.

Dmitry Gudkov said in a Facebook post that sources in Kremlin circles had told him “that if I do not leave the country, the fake criminal case will continue until my arrest.”

Gudkov said he believes the investigation was aimed at preventing him from running for the national parliament this year. He was a parliament member in 2011-16.

Gudkov was detained at his country house last week in connection with an investigation into money allegedly owed to the city for rental of office space. He was released without charges Thursday.

His detention came as authorities continue to crack down on dissent ahead of September’s parliamentary elections.

Last week, a court sent prominent opposition figure Andrei Pivovarov to jail for two months pending a probe into his actions as head of the Open Russia group, which authorities have declared an undesirable organization. Pivovarov had announced the group was disbanding several days before his arrest.

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