Russian opposition activists seeks refuge in Ukraine

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Aug. 13, 2012, 7 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

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Moscow - The Other Russia activist Alexei Devyatkin and his wife, journalist Jenny Kurpen have applied for refuge in Ukraine fearing prosecution in the wake of the unrest on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, Alexander Averin, a member of the executive committee and press secretary of the unregistered Other Russia party, told Interfax. 

"Both were summoned to the Investigative committee. Although they did not appear on Bolotnaya Square we know the precedents when people would be arrested under similar circumstances," he said.

Devyatkin got a suspended sentence on counts of involvement in mass unrest after he took part in the National Bolsheviks' action at a presidential reception office, he said.

The interregional rights association Agora, to which Devyatkin's wife had turned, told Interfax that employees of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a partner organization of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine, has helped both to prepare the documents needed.

Agora's spokesman Dmitry Kolbasin said if Ukraine rejects the request, they would turn to other European countries.

"Whatever the result, we will go through this procedure and, if our request is rejected, gain the right to apply to a third country - Sweden, Finland, Holland or the United States. We are to have a series of interviews with the Ukrainian migration service and undergo a medical check," Kurpen said, according to Kolbasin.

An authorized March of Millions action, held on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, deteriorated into clashes with police. Opposition blamed police for obstructing the march and a rally, while police said the opposition had staged provocations. Over 400 people were detained in the unrest. About 20,000 activists took part in the action, according to organizers. Police claimed about 8,000 participated in it.

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