MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. None of the representatives of bodies of state power is orchestrating persecution of opposition members in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the annual news conference on Thursday.
“Believe me, there is no campaign of persecution against people who disagree with our actions, say in Ukraine, in Crimea or some internal political issues. None of the official bodies of state power or their representatives is engaged in this,” Putin said in reply to a question from TV hostess Ksenia Sobchak.
At the same time Putin made it quite clear that those who criticize the authorities should be prepared for society’s reaction to this.
“If there follows some response from the public, from the people who disagree with this stance, those who have encountered this today must realize that they cannot monopolize the right to accuse one and all, that there are people who disagree with their views, too, and will hear charges against themselves,” he warned.
Putin advised opposition members “to learn to react adequately to this and not make a fuss at every street corner: ‘Help, help! I am being victimized,’ but respond in the public sphere, too.”
“As for the official bodies of state power, I would like to say once again: there have been no attempts, no instructions, no orchestrated campaigns against anyone. Nor will there be any,” Putin said.