NOVO-OGARYOVO, March 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the irreconcilable opposition which branded his ruling United Russia party as the party of “crooks and thieves” has not advanced any constructive proposals and some of its leaders may also be listed as crooks.
“So far they have not advanced any interesting and well though-out steps to develop the country,” he told foreign editors on Thursday.
Crooks and thieves is “a political slogan used by the opposition in the fight against the ruling party. But opposition leaders used to be high-ranking officials themselves. Many of them participated in privatization and drafted laws. As for crooks and thieves a lot of irreconcilable opposition leaders should also be included into the “noble” community,” Putin said.
The “party of crooks and thieves” slogan was produced by opposition leader and corruption fighter Alexei Navalny and Putin recalled that Navalny had “some problems” when he worked as an aide to a regional governor. He did not elaborate.
He welcomed the fight against corruption carried out by the opposition but called not to politicize the issue. “Any authority is interested to decrease corruption and welcomes the activities of everyone who helps. But if anything is posed for corruption in order to add political weight it does not help fight corruption,” he said.
Commenting on growing opposition protests in the country Putin said “they make us think, search for solutions, and communicate with society.” “I believe it is a very good experience for Russia,” he said.
Putin admitted the number of his supporters is smaller in big cities than in the rest of the country. “It means authorities have to actively react to their demands,” he said.