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Russia detains opposition figure with Israeli citizenship after his return to Moscow

Dual national Leonid Gozman faces prosecution for not informing authorities of his foreign citizenship quickly enough

Leonid Gozman poses for a photo with other members of the new Kremlin-friendly Right Cause party, during the party's founding congress in Moscow, Nov. 16, 2008. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
Leonid Gozman poses for a photo with other members of the new Kremlin-friendly Right Cause party, during the party's founding congress in Moscow, Nov. 16, 2008. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

MOSCOW — Russian authorities on Monday detained a liberal politician who recently returned to Moscow from abroad, the latest move in a relentless crackdown on dissent amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

Leonid Gozman, who also has Israeli citizenship, was detained after the Russian Interior Ministry issued a warrant for his arrest while investigating a criminal case against him.

Gozman has been accused of breaching the law that requires Russian citizens to notify authorities about foreign citizenship or residency permits. If found guilty, Gozman could be sentenced to a fine or community work.

Gozman notified the authorities about his Israeli citizenship but they claimed that he failed to do so within the required time.

Gozman, a vocal critic of the Kremlin’s campaign in Ukraine, left Russia when it started but returned in June in what he described as a “moral” choice.

The Russian Justice Ministry has listed him as a “foreign agent,” a description that carries a strong pejorative meaning and implies additional government scrutiny.

Gozman’s lawyer, Mikhail Biryukov, said the politician was detained on the Moscow subway and taken to a police station.

This move against the dual-national Gozman came as Russian authorities have also cracked down on the operations of the Jewish Agency, a nonprofit organization that facilitates and encourages Jewish immigration to Israel.

These moves against the organization, which is technically separate from but culturally connected to the Israeli government, have raised grave concerns among Russia’s Jewish population, amid speculation that Moscow is making moves against Jerusalem’s interests due to Israel’s limited support for Ukraine, which remains under Russian assault.

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