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MOSCOW, March 15, /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian authorities have no intention to silence criticism, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Ren TV on Saturday, March 15.
“The authorities cannot plan to silence or not to silence criticism. There has always been criticism and it always will be. This question is not on the agenda,” he said.
Peskov stressed that detention of people at rallies was not punishment for dissidence. “We have effective legislation, which allows you to get together for protest actions after completing certain formalities. Obviously, the first spontaneous actions attended by 100 people, maybe more in some places, were organised without completing these formalities, and it is quite natural that legitimate measures were taken against them,” he said.
He believes that “a small group of our fellow citizens” has the problem of “demonising Putin” although Putin is a democrat who draws one of his critics, Alexei Kudrin, into the drafting of an economic strategy for the country.
“Putin has been accused of cracking down on everything and everyone in politics. But he is far from doing that. He is absolutely multifaceted in his contacts with the opposition and human rights activists. This demonising is absurd. Putin is not like that,” Peskov said.