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Russia Seeks House Arrest of Putin Protes Leader Udaltsov

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Russian investigators are seeking to place opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov under house arrest for violating travel restrictions after detentions for organizing protest rallies in Moscow.

Udaltsov “spends a lot of time outside his place of registration, his mobile phones are frequently off and that makes it hard to summon him,” the Investigative Committee said on its website. Udaltsov faces a maximum 10 years in prison after being charged with conspiring to organize mass unrest, investigators said Oct. 26.

Udaltsov, 35, has emerged as a protest leader as thousands have taken to the streets to denounce alleged vote fraud in the 2011 parliamentary elections and the 13-year rule of President Vladimir Putin.

The Investigative Committee’s charges against Udaltsov stemmed from a documentary aired on the NTV television channel, owned by state-controlled OAO Gazprom, in October. The show accused Udaltsov of meeting with an official from Georgia, the Caucasus country with which Russia fought an five-day war in 2008, in an effort to raise funding and organize riots in Moscow and other regions.

The hearing about placing Udaltsov under house arrest will be held tomorrow, the oppositionist said on his Twitter Inc. “Let’s guess the result,” he wrote.

Udaltsov said by phone today that he never violated the travel restrictions. In October, he said he “couldn’t identify” himself in the NTV broadcast and rejected accusations of plotting riots.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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