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What hysteria? Putin couldn’t care less about Navalny’s new criminal case, Kremlin assures

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed speculation that criminal cases against blogger Alexey Navalny were political

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t give a darn about the situation surrounding the new criminal case against Alexey Navalny, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

According to the Kremlin official, the head of state has other things to focus on, particularly the goals that he and the cabinet are going to tackle.

Investigative officials earlier launched a criminal case against Navalny, accusing him of embezzling 356 mln rubles ($4.78 mln) of public donations to the organizations he heads. The blogger commented on the move, claiming that the president was "having a fit."

Peskov said in response that "Putin isn’t having any fits, Putin is getting ready for a meeting with the prime minister and holding international phone conversations, wishing his colleagues a Happy New Year." "All other details should probably be requested from the Investigative Committee, since we don’t have the information," the Kremlin spokesman specified.

When asked what the head of state felt about the Navalny situation, Peskov pointed out that "Vladimir Putin couldn’t care less about the situation." "What Vladimir Putin cares about are the goals that stand before him and the government," the official noted, adding that "the president is delighted over the policies that have been implemented this year." "Meanwhile, the most critical issues that remain on the agenda motivate him to rise to the occasion," the presidential spokesman emphasized.

Speculations about political nature of Navalny's prosecution

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed speculation that criminal cases against blogger Alexey Navalny were political.

"Why is it difficult?" Peskov said in a comment on a reporter’s remark that it was hard to call criminal cases against Navalny "not political."

"This is in no way a priority issue and here we have nothing to comment, so we would not want to continue commenting on this," he noted.

When asked to comment on a suggestion that a new criminal case was needed to make sure that Navalny would not come back to Russia, Peskov said: "I cannot say anything here, you should better call the Investigative Committee, they will tell you everything. They are doing their job," he noted.

According to Peskov, Putin was informed "about the activity of various agencies in regard to Navalny." "Certainly, the agencies report about their work in accordance with the established procedure."

Criminal cases against Navalny

Russian investigators initiated a criminal case against Navalny over charges of embezzling 356 mln rubles ($4.7 mln) out of over 588 mln rubles ($7.9 mln) donated to a number of his organizations, including the Anti-Corruption Foundation. According to investigators, Navalny and some other individuals spent this sum on personal needs: purchase of private property, material valuables and payment of expenses, including vacations abroad. Therefore, the money collected from citizens, was embezzled.

In July 2013, Navalny was found guilty of embezzling the funds of Kirovles company in western Russia’s Kirov Region and was handed a five-year sentence in a general-security colony as part of the embezzlement case. However, the prosecutors challenged the decision on Navalny’s custody, motivating this by the fact that he had been registered as a candidate for the Moscow mayor and this would be an obstacle for his campaigning. The next day Navalny walked free before the sentence took effect. In October 2013, the Kirov Region Court handed a five-year suspended sentence to Navalny.

On December 30, 2014, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court found the Navalny brothers guilty of embezzling Yves Rocher's funds and sentenced Alexey Navalny to a suspended sentence of 3 years and 6 months and Oleg Navalny - to 3 years 6 months in a general-security colony.