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Kremlin defends law enforcement for taking tough action to curb riots

According to the Kremlin spokesman, Russia’s law enforcement agencies are fulfilling their duties
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Sergei Karpukhin/TASS
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Sergei Karpukhin/TASS

MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes that the disproportionate use of force by police is unacceptable, but justifies tough actions of law enforcement agencies for curbing riots, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

"We believe that it is absolutely unacceptable when there is disproportionate use of force by the representatives of authorities and believe it is absolutely justified when law enforcement agencies take tough actions in order to curb civil disorder," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman emphasized that any lawsuits filed should be investigated and later considered by the court. However, he called for drawing a distinction between legitimate and authorized events and steps, which are the attempts of staging riots and involving people in them.

"These are absolutely different things. You know that both of them have taken place," Peskov stressed. "I mean an authorized rally and the attempts of organizing civil disorders."

According to Peskov, Russia’s law enforcement agencies are fulfilling their duties and are making every effort for curbing these illegitimate attempts as well as for ensuring security during legitimate and authorized events. In case an illegal rally spirals into mass riots, it can be described as "organized disorders."

The Kremlin takes note of cases involving police brutality and disobedience to police, Peskov said, adding that probes were conducted into all such incidents.

"We take note of all reports about such incidents, internal probes are conducted into all of them," he said. "We also take note of incidents when law enforcement officers have to face disobedience and violence, which is unacceptable," Peskov added.

"We have seen various videos," he went on to say. "Law enforcement officers indeed had to face violence. Investigations are underway aimed at confirming or denying that there were attempts to disobey police orders and resist police officers," the Kremlin spokesman noted.

At the same time, he emphasized that the presidential administration "cannot and should not issue verdicts on the matter." "Only courts have the right to make decisions," Peskov stressed.

Peskov has cautioned against being guided by emotions when evaluating the situation around the election to the Moscow parliament and the steps of law enforcement personnel at the rallies, while advising to wait for the results of internal checks and the courts’ rulings.

"We cannot and should not be guided by emotions. That’s why the phases like ‘unlawful use of force,’ ‘unlawful exclusion from elections,’ ‘unlawful arrests’ and so on can be only used by agencies after an internal review or the courts. You and I cannot do this and have no right to do this," Peskov said.

Peskov said first the lawsuits should be filed and the rulings should be passed in order to describe the events. 

On Moscow protests

Russian President Vladimir Putin is paying attention to the rallies in Moscow but does not consider them to be anything striking, Peskov said.

He underlined that "the president naturally is paying attention to what’s happening." At the same time, Peskov stressed that he is talking about "certain rallies of different nature" that are taking place in the capital. "Russia sees an enormous amount of events happening daily, which the president is paying attention to and he should not deliver his opinion on each of them," he said.

The spokesman also said that Kremlin is not undertaking coordination of various agencies’ actions regarding rallies in Moscow.

"Don’t look for a black cat where there is none. There are no decision making units, agencies are fulfilling their functions," he said responding to a question whether the Kremlin is coordinating the actions of various structures regarding protesters. "If there are questions about the way agencies are fulfilling their functions, we recommend specifically addressing these agencies," the Kremlin spokesman said.

The Russian presidential staff does not regard Moscow’s latest protest demonstrations as manifestations of a political crisis.

"We disagree with those who call the events a political crisis," Peskov said. "It is not a crisis. Protests happen in many countries around the world. They concern concrete issues. Protest demonstrations occur in European capitals and around the world."

In some cases such processions are a mixture of protests, strolls and entertainment, he said.

"Current events are to be evaluated properly, but by no means associated with some crisis. We are certain about that," he said.

Speaking about the unregistered candidates for the Moscow City Duma, the Kremlin spokesman said anyone of them had the right to turn to court and challenge the election commission’s decision. "The law stipulates the procedure and everything is absolutely clear here, there is no ambiguity," Peskov noted, also adding that he was not aware of the demands in a resolution after the August 10 rally on Sakharov Avenue.

The August 10 rally was the fourth one conducted in support of independent candidates barred from running for the Moscow City Council. The previous rallies were held on July 20 and 27, as well as on August 3. Only the first one of them had been authorized by the Moscow mayor’s office.