Russia: Putin talks Golunov case, police response to Moscow protests

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Ivan Golunov case, the violent protests in Moscow last summer against the terms of local elections and the powers of the National Guard, as part of interview series '20 Questions with Vladimir Putin', released by TASS news agency on Wednesday. The president emphasised the Russian society's active role in high-profile cases such as with investigative... Еще journalist Golunov, who was arrested on fabricated drug charges last June, but was freed after the charges were dropped following a public outcry. «Court takes into account the opinions of respected people. Nevertheless, it has to make judgments based not on their opinion, but based on the law and legal awareness,» he said. Putin went on to defend the tough police response to the opposition protests in Moscow last summer. «Today somebody throws a bottle, tomorrow — a chair, then cars are smashed to pieces. It cannot be allowed, things mustn't get out of hand, it has to be within the law,» he said of the protests, after being questioned why he had compared the domestic unrest to the Yellow Vests movement in France and Hong Kong's 'pro-democracy' protests. He stated that sanctioned, peaceful demonstrations were fine, noting that the police were only performing their duties. «To what extent is it possible to disrupt the country's balance? There will be hell to pay, we can't risk it,» added Putin. He blamed the opposition of organising the protests with the aim to show «what kind of heroes they are, and that they will protect the interests of citizens with the same zeal if they get into power and engage in governing.» The Russian leader said it is not enough just to pin the blame on authorities, but to provide a programme which brings the country forward. Mandatory courtesy to TASS

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