Mikhail Doliyev (center) RFE/RL on June 7 that he is currently in Germany with his wife and children and plans to apply for political asylum there.
The chairman of the opposition Parnas party's local branch in Russia's southwestern region of Astrakhan has fled the country fearing for his safety after he openly criticized the Kremlin for its ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Mikhail Doliyev told RFE/RL on June 7 that he is currently in Germany with his wife and children and plans to apply for political asylum there.
Doliyev was detained several times at unsanctioned rallies protesting the war in Ukraine in recent weeks.
"An atmosphere of hatred toward Ukraine and Ukrainians has been created in the country, which is impossible to tolerate further," Doliyev told RFE/RL. "It all became possible because of the lack of freedoms -- from freedom of assembly to freedom of speech and free elections; and all that led to the decision to leave."
Many politicians, activists, journalists, and other people have left Russia for other countries since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
In March, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that calls for lengthy prison terms for distributing "deliberately false information" about Russian military operations as the Kremlin seeks to control the narrative about its war in Ukraine.
The law envisages sentences of up to 10 years in prison for individuals convicted of an offense, while the penalty for the distribution of "deliberately false information" about the Russian Army that leads to "serious consequences" is 15 years in prison.
It also makes it illegal "to make calls against the use of Russian troops to protect the interests of Russia" or "for discrediting such use" with a penalty possible of up to three years in prison. The same provision applies to calls for sanctions against Russia.