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SELIGER, Tver region, August 2 (Itar-Tass) - Elections only can demonstrate what people think of these or those candidates, including opposition activist Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday at a meeting with participants in the Seliger-2013 youth forum.
One of the Seliger activists asked Putin to say who he thought was behind Navalny’s mayoral bid - whether it was “a U.S. State Department project,” or a “project of the so-called Medvedev team,” or it was Putin’s own project. “Every person is only a project of his or her own parents,” Putin said ironically.
“The main thing we bore in mind when we were taking the decision to liberalize political activities and simplify registration procedures for political parties was to give each and every person an opportunity to realize him- or herself, and people will decide whether to trust these or those citizens or not,” Putin said. “We shall see it in the canvassing campaign,” he added, referring to the forthcoming elections of the Moscow mayor.
Putin admitted he had been surprised at the court verdict to Navalny, who was sentenced to five years in prison on embezzlement charges, while another accused, Vyacheslav Opalev, who had struck a plea deal, was given a suspended sentence.
“It looked strange to me that one of the accused, who had begun to cooperate with investigators, was given a 4.5-year suspended sentence (Opalev), while the other one (Navalny) was convicted to five years behind bars,” Putin noted, adding that it was up to the court to decide about the whole thing. The president however noted that he did not watch the trial too closely.