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MOSCOW, October 1 (Itar-Tass) - Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said the 27% of votes gathered by Opposition activist Alexei Navalny (who came second in Moscow mayoral election) are not a sufficient reason for cooperating with him. Ivanov described the election as "sterile" from the point of view of possible violations, although in his opinion, the participants lacked political culture.
In an interview to the newspapers Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda, RBK Daily and Gazeta.ru published on Tuesday, Ivanov disagreed with the reporters' view that "Navalny has to lead some organization in order to bring good."
"What call should the government discuss it? On what grounds? You have to prove that you're capable of accomplishing something; you've got to win something for starters, such as municipal elections. Then we can talk, for example about the budget of a municipal district; but this is not the case, so there can be no discussion," he said.
The Kremlin chief of staff also disagreed with the opinion that Navalny was a consolidating leader of the Opposition. "We have a free country; you can speak or write what you like. We welcome it, but it does not mean it corresponds to reality," he added.
Ivanov acknowledged that he was "somewhat surprised by the percentage of votes cast for Navalny." "I agree that Navalny mobilized his voters and the protesting electorate very effectively: I admit it unequivocally, while the authorities in the person of Sergei Sobyanin did not actually mobilize their electorate, but this is not an error in my opinion," he said.
Ivanov believes the Moscow mayoral election was "positive," on the whole. "Almost 70% of Muscovites ignored the election, but it's normal, we shouldn't regard it as a tragedy. On the contrary, this signal is more positive than negative, implying that the condition of the society is more or less stable," he said.
From the point of view of lack of violations, Ivanov called the election "sterile." "Do you agree that Moscow did everything possible and impossible so that no fault could be found?" he asked reporters. In Russia, losing candidates always seek to challenge voting results even if they get 5%. "It's a lack of political culture," the Kremlin chief of staff said.