Rival and former Russian deputy Dmitriy Gudkov He announced that he had left Russia for Ukraine, due to pressure from the authorities in light of the September parliamentary elections. “I am getting close to Kiev,” he wrote in a Facebook post, adding that sources close to the Kremlin told him that if he did not leave, he would be arrested for a “fake” criminal case against him.
Gudkov, 41, was arrested earlier this week along with a well-known Kremlin critic, Andrei Pivovarov, 39, the latter of whom got off a Warsaw-bound plane just minutes before takeoff. Gudkov has been arrested for unpaid rent since 2015, with the risk of spending up to five years in prison. His supporters described the arrest as a form of punishment for his plans to participate in the elections. But he was released Thursday evening without charges, in a rare retraction by the Russian authorities.
His lawyer, Mikhail Biryukov, told AFP that Gudkov had been released without formal charge. His supporters praised his release but hinted that he would not be allowed to run for parliament. On the other hand, Pivovarov is still in prison, after a hearing on Wednesday ordered his detention for two months. He is the former CEO of Open Russia, a recently dissolved pro-democracy group.
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