Asked why President Putin refuses to speak opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s name aloud, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on December 15, “Well, he doesn’t do it. Yes, we’ve also noticed this. Apparently this is due to his attitude about this person, which the president certainly didn’t hide at yesterday’s press conference.”
On December 14, Putin was asked why opposition candidates like Alexey Navalny aren’t allowed to compete on the ballot against Putin. In his response, the president compared Navalny (without speaking his name) to Mikheil Saakashvili, the firebrand former Georgian president and former Odessa governor who’s now mobilizing protesters in Ukraine. “You want them to destabilize the [national] situation, so there are attempted coups? We don’t want a repeat of Ukraine for Russia. We don’t want this, and we won’t allow it,” Putin said.