Police Ratchet Up Pressure On Open Russia After Former Chief Removed From Plane.

Russian opposition politician and former State Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov said law enforcement officers have searched his cottage and the homes of some of his close associates.

Gudkov said in a post on his Telegram channel on June 1 that the search occurred at his cottage in Kolomna, about 100 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

"There is a search at my dacha near Kolomna. The same for my former assistant Aleksandr Solovyov. The same for my chief of staff Vitaly Venidiktov. I don't know the formal reason. The real reason, though, is clear," he wrote.

The state news agency TASS confirmed the searches with a source familiar with the situation.

Solovyov is the former chairman of Open Russia, a civic organization that said on May 27 that it had decided to end its operations to protect its members from the risk of being prosecuted.

On May 31, Andrei Pivovarov, the former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement founded by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was removed from a plane in St. Petersburg and detained in the Kremlin's latest crackdown on opposition forces in the country.

Activists at Open Russia have regularly faced pressure from the authorities since its designation as an "undesirable organization" by Russian prosecutors in 2017, including administrative and criminal charges.

The "undesirable organization" law, adopted in May 2015, was part of a series of regulations pushed by the Kremlin that squeezed many nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that received funding from foreign sources -- mainly from Europe and the United States.

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