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Russia’s National Guard tries to walk back glowing character testimony on police rights’ blogger now charged with multiple felonies

Source: TASS

In early May, police arrested Vladimir Vorontsov, the author of the popular online community Police Ombudsman, which reports abuses within Russian law enforcement. He was arrested on charges of soliciting 300,000 rubles (about $4,000) in bribes from an ex-cop. In his defense, Vorontsov asked Russia’s National Guard to testify to his character. That testimony is now in, reports the news agency TASS, which obtained a copy. According to TASS, public relations representatives for the agency expressed “appreciation for the constructive cooperation” Vorontsov offered in the past.

“They thank Vorontsov for his cooperation with the Police Ombudsman project, which made it possible to bring public attention to objective information about the agency’s activities,” a source in law enforcement told TASS.

Following the news report, National Guard spokesman Valery Gribakin clarified to journalists that the cooperation mentioned in the agency’s testimony refers to work “at an earlier period” before Vorontsov’s arrest.

Vladimir Vorontsov is currently charged with 14 felonies including defamation, extortion, insulting state officials, and producing pornographic materials. He maintains his innocence and says he is being persecuted for his civic efforts to defend police officers’ labor rights.

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