Federal Security Service (FSB) officers searched the Moscow apartment of a Kremlin critic who left Russia earlier this year for fear of persecution over an article he wrote.
The FSB searched prominent political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky's apartment, where a grandson was staying, after conducting an hours-long search at the apartment of his daughter and grandchildren, Piontkovsky and his lawyer Mark Feigin said.
Feigin said the searches were related to a criminal investigation opened after Russian authorities said they saw signs of hate speech and calls for "actions aimed at violating the territorial integrity" of Russia in an article by Piontkovsky that was published in January.
The article was about the relationship between President Vladimir Putin’s central government and the volatile Chechnya region, which Kremlin critics and rights activist says Putin allows regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov to rule with an iron hand in exchange for keeping separatism in check.
Piontkovsky, 76. left the country after the article was published.
In an e-mail to RFE/RL's Russian Service on July 23, he said the first apartment search started at 6 a.m. and suggested that "breaking into an apartment" at that hour on a Saturday is "apparently a style inherited" from the Soviet KGB.
With reporting by Ekho Moskvy