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Former Head Of Opposition Group Open Russia Reportedly Removed From Flight, Detained

The former executive director of Open Russia, an opposition movement founded by exiled Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has reportedly been removed from a plane in St. Petersburg and detained.

"I have just been removed from the plane from Pulkovo (airport)...The plane was about to take off." Andrei Pivovarov wrote on his Twitter account on Monday evening.  

"He was detained as part of a criminal case under Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code related to violations of the law on ‘undesirable organizations," a later tweet posted by Pivovarov's colleagues said.

Open Russia, an opposition movement established by former oil tycoon Khodorkovsky, announced its closure last week to avoid jail for supporters ahead of parliamentary elections. 

Open Russia said the decision to shut down was linked to bills advancing through Russian parliament tightening criminal punishment for Russians who support and work for “undesirable” organizations. Open Russia was labeled “undesirable” in 2017 in line with a law targeting foreign groups accused of political meddling.

Russian media reported Pivovarov was detained on the plane at Pulkovo Airport as he was planning to fly to Warsaw, Poland.

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