In an exclusive interview with RT, Sergey Ivanov, head of Russia’s presidential administration, explains why Russian democracy is developing in an evolutionary – not a revolutionary - way.
When asked to comment on Russia’s recent implementation of a protest law, which dramatically increases the fines for those who participate in illegal demonstrations, Ivanov said that Russia is simply following “best world practices” now accepted by many modern democracies.
“I lived abroad for many years as I spy, and I know what I’m talking about,” Ivanov said. “Our law…on meetings and demonstrations are based on “best world practices.”
“(The new legislation) doesn’t ban any demonstration,” he explained. “It gives… a legal basis on how to conduct them and how to carry them out.”
Ivanov stressed that the United Kingdom and the United States have more or less the same rules.
The head of Russia’s presidential administration explained that the new legislation “doesn’t mean that we are trying to curb democracy.” If a person want to speak out against the government, that is a “purely democratic thing and you are most welcome.”
Ivanov went on to remind that there are many more people in Russia who do support the government, and the rights of these individuals must be taken into account as well.
“I would like to remind you that there are quite a number of people who support the government, and who support the president, and they (displayed their support) during the presidential campaign,” he said. “In fact, the number of people who marched or demonstrated in favor of the government was much bigger than the opposition numbers.”
In response to Sophie Shevardnadze’s question about the “buzz” surrounding the protests and some of the organizers, including Alexey Navalny, who ranked among Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of the year, Ivanov was clearly not impressed.
“I would not agree that (the protests) caused abuzz worldwide,” he said. “(The protests) caused a buzz in some political spheres which are interested in calling this a buzz.”
As for specific lists, I am quite skeptical of them, he added.
In wrapping up the interview, Shevardnadze asked Ivanov to describe what type of measures the authorities would take if the opposition comes out in full force?
“If those demonstrations are legal and (come under) normal world practices, without any fights, without any violations, then it’s normal,” Ivanov said.
“It’s democracy,” he concluded.