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Russia Adds Leftist Group to Terror List for Allegedly Plotting Election, World Cup Attacks

Viktor Filinkov, Yury Boyarinov Yelena Lukyanova / Novaya Gazeta in St.Petersburg / novayagazeta.ru

Russian authorities have blacklisted an anti-fascist activist group whose members are on trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the government as a terrorist organization.

Federal agents opened a criminal case against Set — Russian for “Network” — in the fall of 2017, leading to the arrests of 11 people in St. Petersburg and Penza on terrorism charges. Investigators claim the group planned attacks during Russia’s March 2018 presidential election and the summer 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Kommersant business daily reported.

The FSB added Set to its list of terrorist organizations Monday based on a recently enforced court order. The group joins the likes of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the banned Islamic State terrorist organization.

Russia’s state financial watchdog had added members of the left-wing group to its list of terrorists months earlier, the OVD-Info police-monitoring website reported.

The jailed activists have accused security officers of torturing them into incriminating themselves, a claim that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said was a “professional necessity.”

Ten members of the group now face up to 10 years of prison on terrorism charges.

The first member of the group, Igor Shishkin, was sentenced to 3.5 years in January after making a deal with the investigators.

Hearings for two of the suspects, Viktor Filinkov and Yuly Boyarshinov, have been postponed until Wednesday.

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