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Russian Activists Arrested Protesting Putin's Closest Oligarch Ally

Rosneft Chief Igor Sechin Mikhail Metzel / Reuters

Twelve activists have been arrested outside the offices of Russian oil giant Rosneft in central Moscow.

Members of nationalist-Bolshevik group The Other Russia were detained by police while distributing leaflets condemning the "extravagant income" of company CEO Igor Sechin. They were later released and charged with holding an illegal rally.

The group held a similar rally at the offices of state-owned energy firm Gazprom in St. Petersburg in January.

Sechin, a close confident of Russian President Vladimir Putin, earned $16 million in 2016, The Other Russia said.

“This is a difficult time for our country, when people are getting poorer and the state doesn't have enough money to cover basic social need," the leaflets claimed. "Yet top managers at Rosneft have seen their wages rise by 10 percent in a year.”

In an official statement, Rosneft said that their security guards had “foiled” a protest with the help of the police. They alleged that the demonstrators had been paid by anti-Kremlin activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky to "discredit government structures."

The Other Russia was founded in 2010. The organization follows in the ideological footsteps of National Bolshevik Party, a group which was banned as extremist in 2007.

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