Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday condemned the demonstrations which took place in favor of the release of the opponent Alexei Navalni (23).
Speaking by video to university students at an official residence in Zavidovo (120 km northwest of Moscow), Putin said that “everyone has the right to express their opinions within the legal framework”.
“Anything outside the law is not only counterproductive, but dangerous,” he said, citing everything from the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 to the invasion of Capitol Hill earlier this month in Washington.
“What are you doing with these people [nos EUA]? Between 15 and 25 years behind bars for domestic terrorism. They [apoiadores de Donald Trump] came with political slogans but were also outlaws. Why should this be allowed in Russia? “
The acts took place in more than 100 Russian cities and were the largest of their kind since the protests organized by the same Navalni in 2017. About 3,700 people were arrested and a violent police crackdown took place in some places.
At the same time, Navalni supporters have called for a new act, now for 12 p.m. (6 a.m. in Brasilia) on Sunday (31), and no longer for Saturday, as previously announced.
“The people have shown their strength,” said one of Navalni’s right-hand men, Leonid Volkov. Last Saturday there were tens of thousands of participants in the protests.
They were illegal because in Russia it is necessary to seek permission from local governments to make any kind of public agglomeration. The opponents, aware that they would not have such a license, decided to go to the confrontation.
Navalni was arrested at Sheremetievo Airport in Moscow on the day of his return to Russia. Arrested for 30 days, on February 2, he participated in a hearing that could resume his sentence of up to three and a half years in prison.
In August, Navalni had been poisoned in the Siberian city of Tomsk and almost died, being taken into a coma in Berlin (Germany).
In the European country, doctors found the presence of a nervous agent called Novichok (beginner, in Russian) in his body. The poison has been used by the Russian secret service since the days of the Soviet Union.
Navalni, recovered, played a prank on one of the spies accused of being involved in the case and obtained an admission that yes there were orders for him to be killed. Accused by the opponent, Putin denied any responsibility.
Novichok had already starred in another plot, the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in the UK in 2018. In this incident and in the current one, relations between European countries and Russia has deteriorated.
The opposition leader was arrested for violating the terms of his probation, set out in a 2014 sentence on a suspected fraud case – which Navalni calls persecution because the conviction prevents him from running for office.
In his speech on Monday (25), the Russian president also referred to an accusation by Navalni posted on video last week, according to which he owns a palace of 7.6 billion reais in Krasnodar, on the Black Sea coast. .
“None of what has been marked as my property belongs to me or my relatives,” Putin said. The Navalni Anticorruption Fund’s investigation recorded 86 million views in six days.
Also on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a protest against what it called US interference in Russia’s internal affairs.
It was based on the US government’s criticisms of Navalni Prison, repeated by European countries. Joe Biden’s government, which took office last week, is expected to undergo further tests of the type, typical of the extent of the Democrat’s willingness to confront Russia.
So far, the president has maintained a two-fold approach: he accepted the extension of a nuclear arms limitation agreement as Putin wanted, but called for an investigation into the poisoning of Navalni.
The next step should take place on Wednesday (27), when Putin is expected to speak by video message to the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), during his first participation since 2009 in the event.