June 18, 2021

Russian opponent arrested on tarmac at St. Petersburg airport

Eight days after a Belarusian opponent was arrested on board a plane hijacked by Minsk to retrieve him, a Russian activist was arrested on the tarmac at Poulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, while the aircraft of the company LOT Polish Airlines, on board which he had taken place, was about to take off in direction of Warsaw, Monday May 31st. “I was going to take the plane to go to rest, I went through customs, no one asked me any questions. The plane had already started to move when suddenly it stopped. The cops got on board and took me out ”, said Andrei Pivovarov on Twitter, before being taken by the FSB, the Russian security services.

The symbol is already important, because it is at this same airport that the guests of the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum are due to arrive on June 2, a major event in Russia, during which the authorities are trying to pamper foreign investors. and reassure them about the climate in the country. After the arrest of Belarusian opponent Roman Protassevich, following the hijacking of the Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight, on May 23 – a case in which Russia has provided unwavering support to Belarus -, the incident does not appear either more harmless, without necessarily seeing a signal sent by Moscow. Arrests of dissenting voices are almost daily in Russia.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Russia, Minsk’s unwavering support

The fact remains that the plane which was to take Andrei Pivovarov to Warsaw also belongs to a European company. This politician, director of the organization Open Russia, founded by the oligarch in exile and detractor of the Kremlin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested on board an aircraft of LOT, the Polish national company. Mr Pivovarov, 39, was about to go on vacation to Poland, and he was unaware he was wanted.

Searches in the night

“We are in the process of analyzing the detailed information from the company LOT as well as from the Civil Aviation Authority, which always obtains the flight reports”, reacted the Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz, indicating that the authorities were going to analyze this situation from the angle of respect for international law. “Knowing the activity of our Russian neighbors, it is likely that this is some form of provocation”, did he declare.

Other searches were carried out at the same time at the homes of several former Open Russia employees, for unknown reasons.

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