by WorldTribune Staff, January 29, 2018
Around the same time opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released after being detained by police, the Kremlin accused the U.S. of attempting to meddle in Russia’s upcoming presidential election.
Navalny’s lawyer told the press on Jan. 28 that the opposition leader was released without being charged but will have to appear in court at a later date when he may be charged.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. is attempting to meddle in the March 18 election by releasing a list of wealthy Russians seen as close to Putin.
“We really do believe that this is a direct and obvious attempt to time some steps to coincide with the election in order to exert influence on it,” Peskov told reporters on Jan. 29.
The U.S. Treasury Department is soon expected to release the “Kremlin Report”, which will identify people by “their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.”
The report was mandated by Congress after the U.S. intelligence community accused Moscow of attempting to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
While the expected release of the report is said to have caught the attention of Russia’s elite, Peskov said the Kremlin is “convinced that it will have no influence” on the March 18 election.
Due to a criminal conviction he says was politically motivated, Navalny is barred from running in the March 18 election against President Vladimir Putin.
Putin is expected to easily win a fourth six-year term. The Russian president, 65, would be constitutionally barred from running again in 2024.
BBC footage showed Navalny being wrestled to the ground by policemen during the arrest.
“The detention of one person is meaningless if there are many of us. Someone, come and replace me,” Navalny, who insists he would defeat Putin in a fair fight, tweeted.