Authorities Search Apartment of Russian Opposition Politician Maria Gaidar

Unidentified officers raided the Moscow home of Maria Gaidar on Monday morning, the longtime opposition politician and social activist said.

The officers confiscated all electronic information-storing devices in the apartment, including smartphones, tablets, computers and USB drives, Gaidar was cited as telling the RBC news website.

The search was carried out in connection with Gaidar's status as a witness in a seven-year-old embezzlement investigation involving opposition leader Alexei Navalny, RBC reported, citing Gaidar.

Investigators accuse Navalny's Allekt advertising company, where Gaidar also reportedly worked, of charging the now-defunct Union of Right Forces political organization 100 million rubles ($2.9 million) for services that were never rendered in 2007. The home of Navalny — who is currently under house arrest over a separate embezzlement case — was also raided in June in connection with the allegations.

Gaidar, 32, who ran in the Moscow City Duma elections in September but was disqualified on a technicality, tweeted that her political protest activity was the most likely motive behind the search.

"Municipal authorities have finally heard and taken note of Muscovites' opinions in respect to parking, land development and the closure of choreography schools," she tweeted sarcastically, referring to her bones of contention with City Hall. "They have come to search my home."

According to members of Gaidar's Social Inquiry Foundation who took over her social media pages after her phone and computer were seized, the people who searched the apartment wore civilian clothes but carried documentation from the Federal Security Service, a successor agency of the Soviet KGB.

Gaidar took part in a street protest against the destruction of the historical building of the Moscow State Choreography Academy on Saturday. The previous weekend, she organized a motor rally against municipal parking regulations obliging residents to pay for parking in their neighborhood.

In 2012, Gaidar took an unpaid position as an adviser on social issues in the Moscow Mayor's Office. Prior to joining City Hall, she served as the deputy governor of the Kirov region from 2009 to 2011. She is the daughter of the late Yegor Gaidar, the economist who spearheaded controversial market reforms as acting prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the early 1990s.

Contact the author at g.tetraultfarber@imedia.ru

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