ARKHANGELSK (Sputnik) – On Sunday, Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny organized an anti-corruption rally without the permission of Moscow authorities in the Russian capital, which was attended by approximately 8,000 people, with over 600 people, including Navalny himself, being detained by police. Similar rallies also took place in St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, as well as several other cities across Russia. On Monday, the press service of the Russian Interior Ministry told Sputnik that the majority of the detained participants of the rally had already been released.
Following the rally, Western countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and France, as well as other international institutions, such as the Council of Europe, expressed concerns over the treatment of the protesters and called on Moscow to release those that had been detained.
"All of these calls are taking place amid the police violence, say, in Paris against protesters in relation to the killing of a citizen, a French national of Chinese descent, at his own home. So we believe these questions and calls to Russia are clearly politicized calls with an aim to put some pressure on the intra-political life in the country," Putin said at an Аrctic forum.
Russia is consistently fighting against corruption and views it as a serious problem, he continued.
"Concerning our internal political events, we are consistently calling for fighting against corruption, which is a rather serious problem for us – actually, less serious now, according to public opinion polls – and for other countries. That is urgent and we are doing that. I personally support the idea that public opinion should be focused on fighting against corruption. And I always positively appreciate public attention to these problems," Putin said.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow cannot agree with or take the statements in to account, because of the unauthorized nature of the rallies in Russia.
Unsanctioned protests led to the so-called Arab Spring and the coup in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
"You and I know very well … that this tool was used in the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring. We know very well the bloody events in the region this led to … We also know very well that this was one of the motivations and reasons for the coup in Ukraine," Putin said at an Arctic forum.