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Russia bans militia group named after national heroes as terrorist organization

August 12, 2015, 18:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The group’s head Vladimir Kvachkov, a former intelligence colonel, was sentenced to 8 years in a top security prison for a coup attempt in 2013
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© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov

MOSCOW, August 12 /TASS/. Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a court decision to recognize the Minin and Pozharsky Public Militia movement as a terrorist organization and ban its activities in Russia.

The group is headed by the former intelligence colonel Vladimir Kvachkov who is serving an eight-year sentence in a top security prison for a coup attempt.

"The court has turned down an appeal of the counsel for the defense," Kvachkov’s lawyer Oksana Mikhalkina told TASS.

Earlier, the Moscow city court recognized the Minin and Pozharsky Public Militia group, an all-Russia public movement, to be a terrorist organization and banned its activities in Russia.

The decision came into force on Wednesday, August 12.

Earlier, Kvachkov was charged with leading a shooting and bombing attack in 2005 on a convoy carrying Rusnano chief Anatoly Chubais, who at the time was head of national power monopoly Unified Energy System.

Chubais, an architect of the liberal reforms in the 1990s, is reviled by many for the chaos that accompanied the country's rapid transition to a market economy.

A jury cleared Kvachkov and his associates of all the charges in 2008. The Supreme Court overturned the decision in 2009 and a retrial ended with another acquittal in September, upheld by the Supreme Court. The state paid the retired colonel 450,000 roubles (about 7,000 US dollars) in compensation for the illegal criminal prosecution.

Kvachkov was convicted again in 2013 on charges of an attempt to organize an armed uprising and for recruitment and involvement of people into terrorist activities.

Colonel Kvachkov organized the Minin and Pozharsky Public Militia movement in February 2009. He used the names of Kuzma Minin and Count Dmitry Pozharsky, the two national heroes who led an uprising against Polish invaders early in the 17th century and finally liberated Moscow and the rest of Russia from the Poles, in the organization’s name.

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