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MOSCOW, March 15, /ITAR-TASS/. No like-mindedness is possible in Russia now, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
He described society in Russia as “creative and free” and said the authorities did not need artificial consensus of opinions.
“It is absolutely impossible to make all people think the same way. That’s impossible in the present society, which is quite developed, creative and freedom-loving. That’s why it’s impossible,” he told Ren TV on Saturday, March 15.
Pskov stressed that “many analysts ponder whether the situation around Ukraine can provoke the strengthening of authoritarianism in Russia. But I strongly disagree with this approach.”
He noted that society was consolidating but “not under pressure from the authorities.” “The authorities do not have to put any pressure. This is happening because we live in this country, because we are Russians.”
Peskov also explained why he had started using the term “fifth nano-column.” It describes “people who feel absolutely nihilistic about the authorities. Because there are only a few of them, I say ‘nano’,” he said.
“The impression is that they feel total aversion to reality insomuch as it concerns the criticism of Putin. Their main purpose is to criticise Putin,” he said, adding, “There are few people like that but they are out there.”
He said the Russian authorities had no intention to silence criticism.
“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.