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A journalist confronts Putin: “What are you so afraid of?

“The list of your dead, jailed or imprisoned political opponents is long … and you have now prevented anyone who supports [Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny] to run for office, ”Scott said. “So my question is, Mr. President, what are you so afraid of? “

Scott’s question came during Putin’s solo press conference following the Russian leader’s meeting with President Joe Biden.

Putin responded by describing the organization founded by Navalny, which he did not name, as “extremist” by nature and said she called for “mass disorder” and broke the laws.

Putin then referred to the Black Lives Matter protests and said there had been “disorder” and “destruction” in the United States after the death of George Floyd, whom he also did not name. . Putin said Russia feels “sympathy” for the United States and does not want such protests to occur within its borders.

Scott rejected Putin’s dodge, telling the Russian leader bluntly: “You didn’t answer my question, sir.

“If all your political opponents are dead, in prison, poisoned, doesn’t that send the message that you don’t want a fair political fight? Scott pressed.

Putin then invoked the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, suggesting a false equivalence between insurgents arrested for rioting and Putin’s political opponents imprisoned in Russia.

“As for who kills who and throws who in jail, people have come to the US Congress with political demands,” Putin said. “They face prison terms of up to 20, maybe even 25 years.”

“They are called ‘national terrorists’. They are accused of a number of other crimes,” he added.

A Russian court ruled last week that two organizations linked to Navalny were “extremist” groups, drawing condemnation from the United States. The Russian court ruling meant that members of the groups could not stand for election in the next election.
Navalny, who was poisoned in 2020 and tricked a Russian spy into revealing how he was targeted, has been in jail since the start of the year for allegedly violating probation terms in a 2014 case in which he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. . His state of health has deteriorated and is a matter of concern within the international community.

Ahead of the summit, Biden warned Putin that Navalny’s death would be “another indication that Russia has little or no intention of respecting basic human rights.”

In his own press conference after the meeting with Putin, Biden reiterated that the consequences of Navalny’s death would be “devastating for Russia”.

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