Vladimir Putin rejects Navalny’s allegations

Russia’s President Wladimir Putin According to Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny, he is said to have a luxury palace with a golden toilet brush. Putin rejects that. His critics are already mobilizing for new protests.

Russia’s President Wladimir Putin has rejected research into his alleged luxury palace on the Black Sea coast. “None of what is listed here as my property belongs to me or my close relatives, and it never has,” Putin said during a video conversation with students on Monday. The detained Kremlin critic’s team was responsible for researching the property Alexey Navalny released.

See above or here the alleged secret palace of Putin.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Navalny’s allies called for renewed demonstrations on Sunday. “January 31, 12 noon. All cities of Russia. For Navalny’s release. For everyone’s freedom. For justice,” Navalny confidante Lenoid Volkov tweeted on Monday. You can see the aggressive behavior of the police here im Video.

Tsar’s palace with a golden toilet brush

Navalny has been uncovering corruption in the Russian power apparatus for years – and therefore has a particularly large number of enemies in the Russian leadership. In his latest unveiling video, Navalny’s team shows, for the first time ever, pictures, eyewitness reports and documents on Russia’s largest private estate under the title “A Palace for Putin”. The Putin opponent believes it has been proven that the billionaire “Tsarist Empire” with its own ice hockey arena, helipad, casino, aquadisco and golden toilet brush belongs to the president. It is said to have been financed from bribes that the Kremlin chief receives from his friends in state corporations and from oligarchs.

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The Kremlin had previously dismissed this as nonsense. But even days after the video was published with 70 million views by Saturday afternoon, no one has yet committed to the property on the Black Sea. According to sociologists, that should be in the mood of protest, which is now widespread Russia have charged again.

Maas demands the release of demonstrators

According to civil rights activists, more than 3,500 people were arrested in more than 100 Russian cities in the nationwide protests for Navalny with tens of thousands of participants. There were numerous clashes between demonstrators and police. Many of Nawalny’s employees were also arrested before the protests and sentenced to several days’ arrest.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday called for the immediate release of the arrested supporters of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. “Even according to the Russian constitution, everyone in Russia has the right to express his or her opinion and to demonstrate,” said the SPD politician on Monday during consultations with EU colleagues in Brussels. The country has committed itself to adhering to the rule of law. Therefore, it is expected that those who protested peacefully would be released immediately.

Maas initially did not comment on possible reactions by the EU to the actions of the Russian authorities against Navalny and his supporters. Eastern member states such as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are particularly promoting a quick and clear reaction against Russia.

Next trial against Navalny in early February

Others, however, are more cautious and want to wait and see whether Navalny will be held longer. A final decision on new sanctions is therefore not expected this Monday. The next trial against Navalny is scheduled for February 2nd.

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The Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said: “A free Navalny would be the start and also the opportunity for a new and better relationship between the European Union and Russia.” This would be good for Russia, Europe and the whole world. “Today and tomorrow we would talk about cooperation with Russia instead of about sanctions,” said Asselborn.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis suggested using a new EU sanctions instrument created last year to increase pressure on the leadership in Moscow. “I think it needs a clear and decisive message,” he said. The EU must make it clear that it will not tolerate human rights violations – regardless of whether they are committed in Minsk, Hong Kong or Moscow.

Lithuania wants Putin’s fortune

The new regulation allows the assets of actors who commit or benefit from serious human rights violations to be frozen. In addition, entry bans can also be imposed on people. So far, human rights violations could only be punished in connection with punitive measures against states or within the framework of special sanction regimes that the EU has created, for example, in the fight against cyber attacks and the use of chemical weapons.

So far, this has made it difficult or impossible for the EU to react to human rights violations – for example in the case of the gruesome killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Navalny: Sentenced to 30 days for the time being

Navalny was sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment in Russia on Monday last week for allegedly violating registration requirements in previous criminal proceedings. The opposition politician had previously decided to return to his home country, although he was the victim of an attack there in August with the neurotoxin Novichok, which is banned as a chemical weapon.

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Because of the attack on Navalny, which was then dealt with in Germany, the EU had already imposed entry and property bans on people suspected of being in the vicinity of President Vladimir Putin last year on the basis of the chemical weapons sanctions regime. In Brussels, it is assumed that government agencies in Russia are behind the attack. Navalny himself sees a “killer squad” from the Russian domestic intelligence service, the FSB, under Putin’s command, behind the attack on August 20.

Putin and the FSB deny the allegations. Russia does not want to interfere in internal affairs and has responded to the EU sanctions with entry bans against representatives of the German government apparatus.

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