‘Putin isn’t hysterical’ The Kremlin’s spokesman comments on the fraud charges against Navalny
On the heels of the Russian prison authorities accusing Alexey Navalny of violating his probation, the country’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against the opposition figure for large-scale fraud. Meanwhile, Navalny remains in Germany, where has been since he was evacuated to Berlin for treatment after he was poisoned back in August. During a press conference on Wednesday, December 30, journalists asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to comment on the latest charges against Navalny. Here’s what he said.
Kommersant FM: The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Alexey Navalny. The politician [Navalny] reacted with the phrase: “Putin seems to be simply hysterical.” What can the Kremlin say to this?
Dmitry Peskov: You know, Putin isn’t hysterical. Putin is preparing for a meeting with the prime minister and is making international phone calls to wish his colleagues a happy New Year. It’s probably better to ask the Investigative Committee [about] all other details. We don’t have this information.
Kommersant FM: But how does Putin feel about this whole situation with Navalny in general? Is he worried, perhaps?
Dmitry Peskov: This situation doesn’t engender any feelings for Vladimir Putin. The tasks that are now before him and before the government are what evoke feelings for Vladimir Putin. The issues that were resolved last year evoke a feeling of joy. And [his feelings] are mobilized by those issues that are still pressing on the agenda.
Kommersant FM: Is Putin generally informed about various departments’ activities surrounding Navalny?
Dmitry Peskov: Naturally, the departments report on their work according to the established procedure. But of course this doesn’t mean that any case that is launched, any investigative activities that are initiated against this or that citizen of the Russian Federation, are reported to the president. Of course, this is out of the question.
Business FM: How does the Kremlin feel about the view that the launch of the new criminal case against Navalny for embezzlement of funds received as donations and, in addition, the possible conversion of his suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case to a real prison term, is all [an attempt] to keep Navalny from returning to Russia?
Dmitry Peskov: I can’t tell you anything. You’re better off calling the Investigative Committee and they’ll tell you everything there. They are doing their job.
Business FM: By and large, it’s difficult not to call the cases against Navalny political all the same. What is the Kremlin’s position at this moment?
Dmitry Peskov: Why? Look, this isn’t a priority issue at all and we have nothing to comment on here. We do not wish to continue with any comments on this matter.