Police seize anti-Putin books on eve of Economic Forum

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Russian police on Wednesday seized 100,000 copies of a book critical of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that activists planned to hand out at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.

"City police seized a van travelling from Moscow loaded with 100,000 copies of the book, 'Putin. The Results. 10 Years on,'" Olga Kurnosova, head of the city's branch of the opposition United Civic Front, told AFP.

Copies of the book written by opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov were "intended for participants of the forum", starting Thursday, Kurnosova said.

The reasons for the seizure "are not very clear", she said.

The book, which has a total print-run of one million copies, aims to "tell the truth about the real results of the leadership of Putin and the tandem", Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, wrote in his blog on Monday.

Putin served two terms as president from 2000 onwards before being elected as prime minister. He is still viewed as Russia's strongest political figure in a power tandem with his ally President Dmitry Medvedev.

Earlier this month, Putin said that he supported opposition protests as long as they were within the law.

"Without a normal democratic development this country will have no future," he said at a televised meeting with prominent arts figures.

Nemtsov presented the book about Putin in Moscow on Monday. Last year he published a similar book about Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who won a libel case and forced him to retract a statement about corruption in the city hall.

© 2010 AFP

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