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Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the weekend’s protests demanding the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as dangerous and illegal, while allies of the opposition politician said they planned a similar protest. for the Sunday.
Police detained more than 3,700 people and used force to break up rallies in Russia on Saturday when tens of thousands of protesters ignored extreme cold and warnings from police to demand that Navalny be released from jail, where he is serving a sentence. 30 days for alleged parole violations.
Putin, who avoided mentioning Navalny by name, told students on Monday that no one should use an illegal protest action to further their own political interests.
“Everyone has the right to express their point of view within the framework provided by the law. Anything outside the law is not only counterproductive, but dangerous,” Putin said.
He cited the turmoil caused by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as examples of how illegal actions can cause misery to people and are therefore best avoided.
As Putin spoke, Leonid Volkov, a close ally of Navalny currently outside of Russia, announced plans for a new protest this Sunday that would once again ask authorities to release Navalny.
Putin, in a rare public rebuttal of something Navalny has accused him of, on Monday rejected an accusation made in a video last week that has since garnered more than 86 million views on YouTube.
Navalny alleged in it that Putin owned an opulent palace on the Black Sea that the Russian leader’s friends had paid for, sometimes with public money.
“I have not seen the video, simply because I do not have free time to see that information, but I did go through compilations of videos,” Putin said.
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