Earlier in February, the Russian Foreign Ministry shared video footage showing police steps to suppress protests in the Western countries and Russia with Anne Linde, Swedish foreign minister and the chairperson-in-office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, during her visit to Moscow. The same materials were later sent to the office of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
"We showed them the so-called disproportionate use of force, as they like to say... The video contains two parts. The first part is how the Western police behave 'proportionally,' including in the EU countries, and the second part is how the police are being provoked by participants during illegal protest actions in our country. We received nothing but silence in response. Just silence, there are no arguments, and there cannot be any arguments," Zakharova said as aired by Rossiya 1 broadcaster.
Unauthorised demonstrations swept through Russian cities on 23 January, 31 January and 2 February in support of jailed opposition activist Alexey Navalny, who was detained upon arrival in Moscow from Germany, where he was treated for alleged poisoning. Many Western politicians have called for the immediate release of the activist. The rallies resulted in clashes with police, detentions and arrests.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier advised foreign politicians commenting on the situation with Navalny to respect internal law and deal with its own domestic problems. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that his Western counterparts are visibly happy to churn out nearly identical statements.
The Russian presidential spokesman called organizers of demonstrations provocateurs, while Vladimir Putin said that everyone had the right to freedom of opinion but "anything that goes beyond the law is not just counterproductive but dangerous."