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West using Navalny to destabilize Russia by creating social upheaval & encouraging unrest, says Russian security chief Patrushev

West using Navalny to destabilize Russia by creating social upheaval & encouraging unrest, says Russian security chief Patrushev
Opposition figure Alexey Navalny is being used by the West to destabilize Russia's internal situation. That's according to the powerful Security Council boss and former Federal Security Service (FSB) director Nikolay Patrushev.

Speaking to Moscow newspaper Argumenty i Fakty, Patrushev was asked about Ukraine's response to the Navalny protests. In recent days, Kiev has voiced its support for the imprisoned anti-corruption activist.

"The West needs this 'leader' [Navalny] to destabilize the situation in Russia, for social upheaval, strikes, and new Maidans," Patrushev claimed. "We see in the example of Ukraine what this can lead to, which in practice has lost its independence."

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"The people leading Ukraine made these statements to the detriment of their own people's interests," he said.

Without naming Navalny, the former FSB head blasted him for "repeated" gross violations of Russian law, noting that he deserves to be held accountable for his "illegal activities."

On Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called Navalny "an enemy of Putin," and noted that the Kiev government is entirely behind his movement.

"We have taken a tough, principled position," Kuleba explained. "First of all, it is wrong to beat people who came out to protest in defense of their civil rights. And secondly, there is a saying: the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

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Saturday saw large protests in support of the jailed opposition figure throughout the country, with thousands of his supporters taking to the streets to show their support.

Navalny was remanded in custody on January 18, immediately after landing on Russian soil. The activist is accused of violating the terms of a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence he received in 2014, after being found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher.

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