MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. All protestors who take part in street rallies must obey the rules of public demonstrations, or else the situation may deteriorate into riots and violence in the streets, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin".
"There are certain rules for everybody to adhere to," he said, adding that he was referring to both the supporters and opponents of the authorities. "This is the law. And it must be obeyed. Otherwise, the country’s stability will break down. Do we want to see cars torched in our streets? If there is no response, arson is bound to occur. Shop windows will be smashed to pieces and people will be harmed."
He stressed that the law allowed critics to express their point of view by means of public demonstrations, for which permission had to be obtained first.
Replying to a remark by TASS reporter Andrei Vandenko that the authorities might deny requests to greenlight protests, Putin said in that case permission would have to be requested anyway.
"Just get permission. The same procedure exists elsewhere (in other countries). Permission is requested and obtained there, too," Putin said. When asked about likely prison terms for those joining unauthorized street rallies, Putin said that in some countries they were not very long, but in Sweden, for instance, they might range five to ten years.
"We don’t have anything like this," the president pointed out.
In the summer of 2019, Moscow experienced several mass street protests by those disgruntled with the Moscow City Duma election campaign. Some demonstrations were not authorized. Individuals participating in them were taken into custody and faced criminal prosecution.
Episode 7 of the video interview is available at https://putin.tass.ru/en.