So, according to deputy Kremlin chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin, there's absolutely nothing political in the Kremlin's decision to brand the Levada Center as a foreign agent.
Nope. Nothing to see here, folks, so just move along, please.
After all, how could politics have anything to do with Russia's only independent pollster being effectively muzzled less than two weeks before elections?
It is completely absurd to suggest that there could be any political motive in blacklisting a pollster that consistently undermines the Kremlin narrative by -- you know -- doing honest sociological research.
What could possibly be political about effectively muzzling an organization that just published a poll showing support for the ruling United Russia party tanking?
Or one showing that a majority of Russians think their government is ineffective?
Or one showing that a majority of Russians agree that United Russia is a party of swindlers and thieves?
No, there's absolutely nothing political here.
Apparently, the Russian Justice Ministry is just deeply concerned that the Levada Center's research contracts with the University of Wisconsin somehow constitute a grave threat to national security.
And, if the Levada Center disagrees, Volodin added, they can always appeal the decision to the courts.
And as we all know, Russia's courts are totally not political.