- For Putin, "the countless successes" of Russia, in the military sphere, but also in the management of the covid-19 pandemic, together with the design of the Sputnik V vaccine, "are starting to irritate" Moscow's opponents.
- "Our opponents or our potential opponents... have always relied on – and used – ambitious, power-hungry people," Putin said.
- Across the country, there have been several demonstrations to demand the release of Navalny, in a broader context of discontent with the drop in living standards.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Western countries of using the country’s currently imprisoned opposition politician, Alexeï Navalny as part of Russia’s “containment policy.” “The stronger we become, the stronger the containment policy”, he argued.
“Our opponents or our potential opponents… have always relied on – and used – ambitious, power-hungry people,” Putin said in an interview with Russian media conducted on Wednesday but only broadcast on Sunday by public channel Rossiya 24.
President Putin spoke in Reference to the recent demonstrations after Navalny’s return and subsequent arrest, the Russian President considered that the protests were also fueled from abroad in the context of the new coronavirus pandemic.
Putin added that the West are using Navalny right now, at a time when all countries in the world, including Russia, live in a context of exhaustion, frustration and dissatisfaction because of “the conditions in which they live and the decrease in income.
For Putin, “the countless successes” of Russia, in the military sphere, and also in the management of the covid-19 pandemic, together with the design of the Sputnik V vaccine, “are starting to irritate” Moscow’s opponents.
A fierce opponent of the Kremlin, Navalny returned to Russia in mid-January after several months of treatment in Germany, where he sought medication for alleged poisoning for which he holds the Kremlin and the Russian secret services (FSB) of being behind.
Navalny was arrested upon his arrival in Russia at the airport, and a Russian court sentenced him to a two-year prison sentence in early February, revoking the suspension of a previous sentence.
Across the country, there have been several demonstrations to demand the release of Navalny, in a broader context of discontent with the drop in living standards.
Protests against Putin’s policy have already led to the detention of more than 10,000 people, the vast majority of whom have been sentenced to short prison terms.
The extent of the repression was not only denounced by European countries and the United States, but also by many non-governmental organizations and the Russian press.
The European Union (EU), whose relations with Moscow are already deteriorating, has indicated that it is considering further sanctions on Moscow, which has angered the Russian authorities.
Consequently, Russia on Friday vowed to cut ties with the European Union if the bloc slams the Kremlin with economic sanctions in retaliation for the detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. “We proceed from the fact that we’re ready [for that].
In the event that we again see sanctions imposed in some sectors that create risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive spheres,” Said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during an interview on the Russian YouTube channel Solovyov Live.