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Putin Criticizes Navalny For Making Corruption Allegations

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and anticorruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny (composite file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, indirectly accusing him of using his anticorruption campaign to gain political prominence.

Without naming Navalny in comments at a meeting in St. Petersburg on April 24, Putin criticized people he said use anticorruption slogans "as an instrument in their own political fight for promoting themselves."

Navalny was behind anticorruption rallies that brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets across Russia on March 26, the biggest protests against Putin's government in about five years.

Police detained more than 1,000 people in Moscow alone, beating some of them in a show of force, and Navalny was jailed for 15 days.

Navalny has called for another nationwide protest on June 12.

He wants to run for president in a March 2018 election in which Putin is widely expected to seek a new six-year term.

Navalny, however, may be barred from the ballot over a conviction on a financial-crimes charge that he says was baseless and politically motivated.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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