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MOSCOW, December 19. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin said Russian blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny was not a danger to the authorities at the September mayoral elections.
“If Navalny was dangerous, he wouldn’t be allowed to take part in the elections by any administrative means - legitimate or political ones,” Putin told an annual grand news conference on Thursday.
A journalist asked Putin to comment on an interview by Sobyanin who said he had had consultations with the head of state over Navalny’s participation in the elections. “The matter is not in concrete names. I don’t know what was written in the interview: Sobyanin had no consultations with me. The fact that the Moscow mayor discussed political issues with the president is normal,” the president said.
“Of course, people who are little known are not easy to overcome municipal filtration. This is not linked with the fact that they criticize power or not,” Putin said, adding that he considered municipal filtration a necessary measure.
“This is not an empty instrument, which makes a candidate to think about real needs of a settlement or a town where he is going to run for,” Putin said.
Commenting on assistance to taking part in elections, the president said this could help solve several issues. “People, who reach such serious level, are starting to realize realities of our life — where we life and where we go, and what we want to achieve,” he said.
The participation in elections gives an opportunity “to learn about real people’s needs and to set real tasks. In my view, this is useful for people themselves to make them more serious and substantial”, the president said.
“Thus, elections are a positive process for candidates and for electors. I think so,” he said.