Russian media say the St. Petersburg police launched an initial investigation last summer before closing the case. The regional prosecutor's office decided to reopen the case on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to halt the probe.
Investigators reportedly suspect the St. Petersburg branch of the council, a nonprofit organization linked to the British government, of avoided paying Russian taxes on English-language courses.
The council's office in St. Petersburg was not immediately available for comment.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA is the official representative of the liberal Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) in Washington, D.C., and a co-founder of Free Choice 2008. Kara-Murza described the elections as an "exciting time" for Russian liberals, emphasizing the "breakthrough" achieved when the SPS and the Yabloko party ran a joint list of candidates and secured seats on the city council.
ANDREI PIONTKOVSKII is the executive director of the Moscow-based Strategic Studies Center and a member of Yabloko's Federal Council. In his presentation, Piontkovskii emphasized that liberal values are under assault in the Russia of President Vladimir Putin and analyzed the importance of the SPS-Yabloko cooperation.