Russian police are investigating a series of attacks on opposition figures, including the April 29 assault on Alexei Navalny, which left the politician partially blinded. According to the newspaper Vedomosti, police opened an assault case against Navalny’s attackers within two hours of the incident.
Interior Ministry sources also told Vedomosti that police “at the highest level” are coordinating efforts to identify and apprehend the people responsible for a recent string of attacks on opposition figures, including Navalny, photo blogger Ilya Varlamov, and Yabloko activist Natalia Fedorova.
Twice on April 26, men sprayed green antiseptic into Varlamov’s face, while he was visiting the city of Stavropol. Two days later, Fedorova was attacked in Moscow with a more severe chemical mixture, leaving her partially blinded.
According to Vedomosti’s sources in the Putin administration, the Kremlin has ordered police to find and punish the men responsible for these attacks, as violent “pro-Kremlin” fringe groups often avoid repercussions at the local level. Moscow reportedly wants to send a message to its supposed “supporters,” Vedomosti says, that their actions only help the opposition.
Navalny has accused police of failing to open an investigation into his attack, and earlier this week he filed a formal complaint against Russian law enforcement for inaction on his case. Navalny’s lawyers say he has received no information about any police work related to the April 29 attack.