Putin compares BLM to opposition groups, foreign entities in Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday compared the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the U.S. to pro-democracy protests in Russia led by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
“America just recently had very severe events, well-known events, after the killing of an African American. And the entire movement developed known as Black Lives Matter. I’m not going to comment on that, but here’s what I do want to say: What we saw was disorder, destruction, violations of the law, etc.,” Putin said at a press conference following his meeting with President Biden.
“We feel sympathy for the United States of America but we don’t want that to happen on our territory. We’re doing our utmost in order to not allow it to happen,” he added, referring to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, which ignited a movement against police brutality and racism.
Putin said that foreign agents don’t need to stop operating, unless they are extremist in nature. He said that the organization led by the imprisoned Navalny has publicly called for mass disorder and breaking the law.
Putin was further pressed on the jailing and killing of his critics and asked if it sends a message that he doesn’t want a fair political fight.
He then equated his treatment of opposition leaders to the arrests of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol during the deadly attack on Jan. 6. Putin said that some rioters were “shot on the spot.”
“Many people are facing the same things that we do,” Putin said.
He didn’t mention Navalny’s name specifically but was responding to an ABC reporter who did. Putin had just wrapped up a face-to-face summit with Biden in Geneva and Biden was expected to hold a press conference following him.
Biden in March said he thought Putin was a “killer,” which led to Russia recalling their ambassador to the United States and the United States recalling its ambassador in April.
Putin announced during his press conference that he and Biden agreed their respective ambassadors “should return to their posts and pick up their functions.”