Russia detains opposition politician with dual Israeli citizenship

Leonid Gozman left Russia when the war in Ukraine started but returned in June in what he described as a “moral” choice.

By Associated Press

Russian authorities on Monday briefly detained a liberal politician with Israeli citizenship who recently returned to Moscow from abroad. The arrest was the latest move in a relentless crackdown on dissent amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

Leonid Gozman was detained after the Russian Interior Ministry issued a warrant for his arrest while investigating a criminal case against him.

Gozman, who also holds Israeli citizenship, has been accused of breaching a law that requires Russian citizens to notify authorities about a foreign citizenship or a residency permit. If found guilty, the 72 year-old 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 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 was detained on the Moscow subway and taken to a police station. The politician was later released, but the criminal case against him is still pending, according to his lawyer, Mikhail Biryukov.

Read  Amid tensions, Netanyahu and Zelensky to meet on sidelines of the UN

In a recent interview with The Insider, a Russian language website, which was cited by Haaretz, Gozman said he and his wife received Israeli citizenship several years ago “because of the medical treatment.”

The Kremlin is also cracking down on the Jewish Agency and other Jewish organizations operating in Russia.

World Israel News staff contributed to this report.