The former President’s press secretary described accusations of a media stunt as “blasphemous”

Miriam Elder
February 28, 2012

The Kremlin has been accused of playing up a purported assassination attempt against Vladimir Putin to boost his popularity ahead of Russia’s upcoming presidential election.

“This is part of a clear election campaign,” said Yevgeniya Chirikova, a leader of the protest movement that has brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Moscow calling on Putin to quit. “It’s to bring attention to Vladimir Putin, and to develop this idea that there’s a threat everywhere. It’s a spectacle.”

… State-run Channel One television reported that two men arrested by Russian and Ukrainian special forces in the Ukrainian port of Odessa earlier this year had been dispatched to kill Putin by Chechen rebel Doku Umarov, the leader of Russia’s separatist Islamist movement.

One of the men, identified as Ilya Pyanzin, was detained after an explosion in the Odessa apartment he was renting with another man, who was reportedly killed in the blast. The television channel broadcast footage in which Pyanzin repeated what he claimed were the instructions he had been given. He said: “In Moscow you will sabotage economic sites. Further – an attempt on Putin.”

Read full report here

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