The Russian president holds “secret” talks with leading media players. Navalny’s poisoning is part of a Western plan. Russian secret services were not involved (no poison). Russian police are also innocent (young people are always radical). Yulia Navalnaya is in Frankfurt.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the chief editors of Russia’s main media yesterday. The meeting was supposedly secret, but some participants leaked several comments about the Navalny protests and other current affairs, prompting a negative reaction from the Kremlin.
The editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow radio, the well-known Alexey Venediktov, asked the president about Navalny’s poisoning, which Putin sees as “Western inspiration.”
Navalny “is being used by foreign players, who are pursuing a policy of containment against Russia on the international stage,” the Russian President said. “What can I say. Young people are always radical, but our law enforcement agencies have acted correctly during the protests of the last few days.”
On the poisoning of his political opponent, Putin reported his conversation with President French Emmanuel Macron. “I asked him to send us the tests made at a French laboratory, because our doctors did not find traces of poison: he refused. So I proposed that our doctors come to France to this laboratory, to find out the results of the tests: another rejection. So I proposed that French specialists come to Moscow with the results of the tests, and one more rejection.
“If we could see what you [the French] found that we did not notice, even the smallest clue, we would immediately open an investigation for an attack on Navalny's life. But here too there was a refusal. I repeat for the umpteenth time. Our laboratories did not find any confirmation of chemical poisoning.”
Putin's answers were reported by Venediktov himself, with the president’s permission. As always, Putin did not mention Navalny's name once; but this time he did not repeat what he said on 17 December: “If we had done it, he would have died”.
According to the BBC, Putin's answers to the other questions remained “secret”; the only statement of some interest was precisely that on Navalny; for the rest, there were no revelations or comments of particular interest.
Lenta.ru’s editor-in-chief, Vladimir Todorov, reportedly asked for clarification on blocking Western Internet services. Putin appeared to rule out closing them, but did confirm plans to develop a domestic Russian internet network. Blocking Western servers would become relevant “only in the event of real threats,” The Bell editors reported.
Meanwhile, Navalny's wife, Yulia, landed at Frankfurt airport on Wednesday, on a surprise trip that even her lawyers were not aware of, German weekly Der Spiegel reported.
According to Russian media, Yulia Navalnaya left the country fearing being arrested like her husband. In Berlin her visit is described as “private”. Navalnaya did not comment on the matter, and has not posted anything on social media for over a week.