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Protesters Arrested as Russia Reappoints Prosecutor General Chaika

Yury Chaika

Russia’s Federation Council unanimously reappointed Prosecutor General Yury Chaika for another five-year term, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.

Several activists were arrested as they protested the decision outside the FC building, including close Navalny ally and Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) member Leonid Volkov. The police then illegally detained them, despite their actions being legal, Volkov told the Moscow Times.

Police told protesters were that they were detained in order to protect the Federation Council building. They were warned against future actions and released without charge.

“Even with the complex realities of Russia, it [the reaction of the police] was strange,” Volkov told The Moscow Times Wednesday. He said that the council’s decision to reappoint Chaika was unsurprising, as his removal would both show weakness and appear as a reaction to the recent allegations against Chaika by Alexei Navalny’s Russian Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).

The FBK released a documentary linking Chaika’s deputies to infamous Russian gang leaders in late 2015. The film also alleged that Chaika may have shielded his sons from criminal prosecution after they took part in shady business dealings.

Chaika denied the accusations, claiming in a letter published by several Russian news outlets that British-American investor William Browder and the U.S. Secret Service were behind the investigation. Moscow’s Presnensky district court declined to process Navalny’s subsequent defamation suit against Chaika.

Government officials labelled the allegations “uninteresting” as they did not directly pertain to the Prosecutor General himself.

Chaika has held his post since 2006, making him the longest sitting Prosecutor General on record, the RBC news outlet reported. Russian President Vladimir Putin recommended Chaika's reappointment to the council in late May.

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