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Opposition Leaders Questioned for Third Day

Protest leader Sergei Udaltsov arriving Wednesday for more questioning before the Investigative Committee. Sergei Karpukhin

Investigators continued for a third day Wednesday to question opposition leaders and search their homes and offices in connection with clashes between police and protesters during an anti-Kremlin rally May 6.

Investigative Committee officials resumed interrogating anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov after a pause late Tuesday.

In response, Udaltsov called on his supporters to start an “Occupy”-style protest outside the Investigative Committee’s offices, he wrote on Twitter.

A crowd later gathered outside the building to protest committee head Alexander Bastrykin’s alleged threats against a Novaya Gazeta editor, and several journalists were detained, Interfax reported.

Further searches were carried out Wednesday at the offices of Navalny’s Fund for Fighting Corruption, which runs Rospil, a website that seeks to expose official corruption.

Investigators discovered 570 rubles ($18), record books listing his employees and Navalny’s tax declaration within the fund’s safe, but they did not confiscate anything.

Investigators asked Navalny on Wednesday to provide a sample of his writing, but he refused, he wrote on Twitter.

The round of questioning began with surprise raids Monday morning at the homes of several leading opposition figures and their relatives. They were all summoned to appear for questioning early Tuesday, forcing them to miss a highly anticipated, large-scale rally in Moscow.

Investigators seized documents, computer databases and more than $1.7 million in a variety of currencies from the home of TV-personality-turned-opposition-figurehead Ksenia Sobchak.

Late Tuesday, investigators searched the apartment and office of Solidarity co-leader Boris Nemtsov, confiscating “all electronics, computers and other things,” Nemtsov told Interfax.

He was ordered to appear before the Investigative Committee for questioning in the next few days, he said.

Also Wednesday, former Astrakhan mayoral candidate Oleg Shein, of the A Just Russia party, was released from police detention on charges of organizing an unsanctioned gathering, Interfax reported. He had been detained Tuesday while walking with a pack of several dozen people in Astrakhan.

The day of the rally, websites of opposition-leaning media outlets Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd TV were shut down by denial of service attacks, employees said. The websites of privately owned news outlets have come under similar DDoS attacks in recent months on the days of major opposition protests.

Several opposition leaders who were targets of the raids, including Nemtsov, Navalny, Udaltsov and Solidarity co-head Ilya Yashin, will file complaints against investigators in court, their lawyers told Interfax.

Navalny appealed to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg to review rulings by Moscow courts that require him to refute public accusations of corruption against officials linked to the tax probe into the late Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Interfax reported.

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