Russian secret services have allegedly carried out a "rendition" by plucking a Russian opposition figure, Leonid Razvozzhayev, from a Kiev street in broad daylight last Saturday and transferring him to Lefortovo prison in Moscow.
The alleged kidnapping occurred just as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was heading to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a variety of bilateral issues, including the price Russia charges Ukraine for natural gas.
Ukrainian media reports say Mr. Razvozzhayev was applying for refugee assistance at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Kiev on Saturday. He left the building for lunch, and never returned, although he had left his things in the office.
"We are concerned that a person has disappeared just in the middle of the day, and nobody knows what happened and how," Oleksandra Makovska, spokeswoman of Ukraine’s UNHCR office, told journalists.
On Monday, it became clear that Razvozzhayev was in a Russian jail. The official Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported that he had already "confessed to organizing mass disorder together with his boss and other opposition members" in a purported ten-page document that has not been made public.
Russian authorities argue that Razvozzhayev gave himself up voluntarily and penned a full confession about his part in a vast anti-Kremlin conspiracy. But footage posted by the Russian Internet journal LifeNews Monday shows Razvozzhayev being led from a Moscow police building Monday and pushed into a paddy wagon, audibly shouting to reporters that he had been kidnapped and tortured.
Razvozzhayev, an aide to opposition parliamentarian Ilya Ponomaryov, was wanted by Russia's powerful Investigative Committee for questioning in connection with a developing case against his friend, left-wing street agitator Sergei Udaltsov, who is charged with trying to overthrow Mr. Putin using funds provided by the former Soviet republic of Georgia and exiled anti-Kremlin tycoons in London.
The allegations against Mr. Udaltsov were made in a "documentary" film broadcast early this month on the state-run NTV network, which included accusations that he was plotting to seize the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, organize terrorist actions in Moscow, and commit other revolutionary disorders.
The secretly-filmed tapes that supposedly show Udaltsov conspiring with Georgian emissary Givi Targamadze also appear to show Razvozzhayev as a participant. The Investigative Committee ordered him arrested last week, but he had already fled to Ukraine.
This all hinges on how much the Ukrainian government knew. If they knew nothing, this is...bad. Very bad. If they knew and supported the move...that's bad in a different way. Oy.
That he volunarily turned himself in and signed a confession seems...implausible at best.