On Sunday, local newspaper Fontanka reported that the political scientist had been detained for breaching the region’s coronavirus prevention laws – specifically those requiring the wearing of masks – at what police say was a rally for his ‘Peremen’ opposition movement. According to reports, the event was disrupted by counter-protesters, who threw smoke bombs and scattered leaflets. Solovey was detained and taken to a nearby police station.
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The veteran commentator told Moscow’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper from behind bars that he was “just walking” past the gathering, and that activists had approached him to ask questions. Solovey has been the source of a series of increasingly outlandish claims in recent months about Vladimir Putin, with him alleging as early as 2016 that the president would imminently stand down on health grounds. So far, these predictions have failed to materialize.
However, that hasn’t prevented him from stoking speculation in Western media, with outlets including the UK’s Daily Mail and the New York Post spreading his insistence that the president had Parkinson’s, and then that Putin had undergone secret surgery for cancer. In the past, Solovey has said that he is a member of a shadowy international organization, more powerful than national governments.
In an interview with a Ukrainian journalist, he described the group as “stronger than the FSB [Russia’s top security agency], stronger than the SVR [Russia’s main foreign intelligence agency], and stronger than Russia’s Military Intelligence (the GRU).” He did note, though, that it is “not an occult organization,” and has nothing to do with the Templars and Freemasons.
It remains to be seen whether US and UK journalists – if it suits their narrative to cover the incident – will buy into his latest claim that he just happened to be walking past a meeting of his supporters that was being held contrary to Covid-19 laws.
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