Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza 'arrested in Moscow' after slamming 'regime of murderers'

11 April 2022, 21:03 | Updated: 11 April 2022, 21:11

Russian Opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza has reportedly been arrested in Moscow
Russian Opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza has reportedly been arrested in Moscow. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Russian Opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza has reportedly been arrested in Moscow hours after he appeared in a CNN video criticising Russia's “regime of murderers”.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Putin critic, who previously survived two suspected poisonings in Russia, was detained outside his home in Moscow for unknown charges, according to Ilya Yashin, an opposition colleague of Kara-Murza.

Mr Yashin, former head of the Krasnoselsky municipal district in Moscow, wrote on Twitter: "Vladimir Kara-Murza was detained by the police in Moscow near his home. What exactly is presented is still unknown."

He later added: "Apparently, Kara-Murza was taken to the Khamovniki police department, where lawyer V. Prokhorov is going. I can assume that the detention is related to an administrative case (in the case of a criminal case, there would be a search and interrogation in the ICR). Most likely, we are talking about some kind of anti-war statement in the press or in social networks."

The Russian author told news outlet MSNBC on Sunday that Russia had shut down "every independent television network" in a "war of censorship", claiming that over 15,000 have been detained for speaking out against the war in Ukraine.

Read more: Western sanctions have left no food on Russia's shelves, anti-Putin dissident reveals

Sanctions on oligarchs should have been imposed a decade ago

Whilst the activist acknowledged the dangers of speaking out against the regime in Russia, Mr Kara-Murza says: "This is where I have to be."

Speaking to LBC's Andrew Marr just two weeks previously, the Mr Kara-Murza said he was worried that, having seen the way some Western nations have dealt with the Russian regime in the past, some may still have an appetite to "appease" the Kremlin.

And had the West taken actions he called for in the past, he believed the bloodshed in Ukraine could have been avoided.

Speaking about the sanctions, he told Andrew: "The effect has been swift, and the effect has been powerful, I can tell you the last time I saw empty food shelves in shops in Moscow was as a child in the Soviet Union.

"I saw them again for the first time in the beginning of March. So you can see this very vividly and, and the Russian economy is going to suffer greatly because of this."

Read more: 'Thank you Britain!' Ukrainians celebrate after destroying Russian drone with UK missile

No limit to Putin's aggression if appeasement continues

Mr Kara-Murza survived two poisoning attempts that he and reporters say was carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB – the successor to the notorious KGB.

He was in a work meeting in Moscow in May 2015 when he began to feel sick suddenly before he lost consciousness.

He fell into a coma and was put on life support and it was revealed he had been poisoned. He believes he was lucky to survive.

A second attempt was made in February 2017, he said. He says there is a "death squad" in the FSB responsible for "liquidating" Putin’s opponents.

Today, officials warned that Russia is looking to double or possibly treble the number of forces it has in the Donbas region as part of the next phase of the conflict in Ukraine, according to Western officials.

"I would imagine that, at outside estimates, what you're looking at is a force which is probably the Russians looking to double or even treble the amount of force that they bring into that Donbas area," one official said.

"But I would note that that is going to take some considerable time to bring them up to that sort of number.

"And even when they bring themselves to that number, there is a question over how effectively they can bring those forces into the battle.

"It is a little simplistic to think of three to one or two to one, because actually it is around how you can bring the force to bear at the point of decision which is really important.

"The Russians have shown themselves to be not very effective in this invasion as to being able to use their numerical advantage effectively to actually bring about a decisive engagement."