Many people were arrested during the recent peaceful rallies in Moscow. Mr President, how can you explain that?
This has to do with the electoral cycle. Elections to regional government bodies, including in Moscow, are scheduled to take place this September.
During the preceding elections in 2014,
111 people were barred from running in the election when election commissions decided against registering them as candidates,
which happened for various reasons and always in response to violations.
This year, 57 people were not registered as candidates, which was once again attributable to obvious violations that took place in the course of the election campaign.
There were signatures that were clearly falsified, according to experts from election commissions.
The legal avenue for settling disputes of this kind is to launch court proceedings,
and there were precedents when candidates who were denied registration by election commissions succeeded in reversing this decision through court.
There have already been precedents of this kind. There was a ruling regarding at least one person, and the court ruled that this person must be registered as a candidate.
As for the events themselves, I can hardly tell you anything new:
according to applicable laws, people have the right to engage in peaceful protest, and the authorities must ensure that people are able to exercise this right.
However, neither the authorities nor any groups of citizens have the right to violate the law and carry the situation to the point of absurdity or cause scuffles with the authorities.
This is against the law, and all who committed these violations have to be held accountable under Russian law.
As we know, Russia is not the only country witnessing developments of this kind.
I am visiting this country right now, so discussing this makes me a little uneasy, but since you asked I will have to say it.
We are all aware of the events related to the so-called yellow vests movement during which,
according to our estimates, 11 people died, and 2,500 were injured, including 2,000 police officers.
We would not like anything of this kind to happen in the Russian capital,
and will do everything to ensure that domestic politics remain within the strict confines of the law.
Two mass events, rallies involving the people who wanted to express their protest this way were held in July and August 2019.
These events were coordinated in advance and approved by the authorities. They were peaceful and took place without any excesses.
I would like all future developments in Russia and in other countries to proceed according to this scenario, that is, without any excesses or violations of the law.