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Putin regime is 'built on corruption,' opposition leader Alexei Navalny says

Russia's best-known opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has accused the regime of President Vladimir Putin of being "b...

Posted: Jan 28, 2018 3:03 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2018 3:03 AM

Russia's best-known opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has accused the regime of President Vladimir Putin of being "built on corruption" and called on the Kremlin to mend battered relations with the West.

As Russia braces for a day of nationwide anti-Kremlin rallies on Sunday, Navalny, who has been barred from standing in the March 18 presidential elections, claimed Putin was scared of opposition.

In an exclusive interview with CNN at his Moscow headquarters, he warned of growing impatience for political change. "Putin has been in power for 18 years now," Navalny said. "People are not ready to wait another six years, then another six, then another."

The 41-year-old anti-corruption campaigner said his supporters will take to the streets in more than 100 towns and cities across Russia on Sunday in a rare show of political defiance.

Navalny said people blamed the regime for their plight. "The Putin regime is built on corruption," he told CNN. "According to official data, over 20% of our population lives below the poverty line. And people link the obvious. Why are we so poor? Because they steal so much," he said, referring to Russia's ruling elite.

The Kremlin has rejected allegations of widespread high-level corruption and has condemned Navalny as a dangerous influence whose calls for protests could plunge Russia into chaos.

A 2017 criminal conviction for embezzlement means Navalny is blocked under Russian law from standing for public office. Critics say the case against him was politically motivated.

Navalny accused Putin of being afraid of opposition. "He is scared of all real competition. He only allows those to run who don't even resist, who don't even campaign," he said.

Vast chasm

But Navalny's confidence is not supported by Russian opinion polls.

Putin, who controls and dominates state media, regularly achieves popularity ratings close to 90%. Navalny, who gets hardly any attention in national media, polls barely 2%, illustrating the vast chasm the opposition figure would need to bridge even if he were allowed to stand against Putin.

Yet outside Russia, Navalny is viewed positively as a preferable alternative to hard-line Putin, who has led Russia into confrontation with the West.

Navalny insisted he would be capable of repairing that relationship.

Russia "needs to stop supporting the war in Ukraine (and) stop using shady methods of hybrid war like election interference and hacking," he said.

But he argued that it served Putin's interests to be cast as a bogeyman in the West. "From the Kremlin's point of view, and Putin's point of view, this is a good thing that keeps his image on the front pages of the Western media," Navalny told CNN. "But this is stupid. These are just further steps towards this country's degradation."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
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Lamar475363
Washington4734122
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Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
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Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
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Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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