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Known for wild conspiracy theories, political analyst Valery Solovey is now in police custody

Source: RBC

Political analyst Valery Solovey was detained along with his son following a raid of his Moscow home on Wednesday, February 16, reports RBC. 

Activist Elvira Vikhareva told that law enforcement searched Solovey’s home for seven hours beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and that they seized all of his devices. Solovey and his son were then detained for questioning. 

Speaking to RIA Novosti, Solovey’s wife Tatyana confirmed the raid and said that her husband and son were taken to the Investigative Committee for interrogation as witnesses in a criminal case.

The nature of the criminal case has yet to be officially confirmed. However, RT, as well as sources, reported that it was opened under Criminal Code Article 282 (Incitement of hatred or enmity, as well as abasement of human dignity). 

Update. State investigators released Valery Solovey and his son after questioning them as witnesses in a criminal case, Solovey’s lawyer Alexey Dobrynin told TV Rain on Wednesday evening. Speaking to Meduza, Dobrynin confirmed that the interrogation was part of a criminal investigation opened on charges of inciting hatred or enmity towards law enforcement officials. The case was launched in the fall of 2021 over the alleged publication of “extremist content” online, Dobrynin said. The lawyer also underscored that Solovey and his son were not placed under arrest.

Citing the investigation, RT reported that Solovey allegedly published information about Russian officials in an anonymous Telegram channel called “SVR General.” In turn, the anonymous Telegram channel ENews112 claimed that Solovey hosted live streams in which a Ukrainian lawyer posed as an ex-general from Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service. (Allegedly, this lawyer is the real administrator of the Telegram channel “SVR General”.)

Also on Wednesday, the authorities carried out a six-hour raid on the home of Solovey’s nephew, Match TV editor Fyodor Solovey, reported the Telegram channel Mozhem Obyasnit. “They took away all of my computers, phones, and [electronics], including 30-year-old floppy discs, and Ukrainian-language books,” Fyodor Solovey told the Telegram channel, adding that only his girlfriend was home at the time of search. 

Valery Solovey is political scientist who holds a PhD. In 2019, he left his position as the chair of the Public Relations Department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), allegedly for “political reasons.” 

Solovey is known for making predictions that are often seen as conspiracy theories. For example, in a 2016 interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets, he claimed that President Vladimir Putin would be replaced before the end of the year. The newspaper later took down the article.

In March 2020, complying with orders from Russia’s federal censor, Ekho Moskvy’s online editors unpublished an interview with Valery Solovey where he offered his own estimate of those killed by COVID-19 in Russia, citing figures that were higher than the government’s official numbers. Later that year, a Moscow small claims court fined Ekho Moskvy and its online editor Vitaly Ruvinsky thousands of dollars for publishing Solovey’s remarks.