Interfax: “Russian police act with far more restraint than some of their European counterparts – Putin”

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

SOCHI. May 2 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed accusations that police in Russia tend to use excessive force in curbing protests, saying that they have acted and will continue to act in line with the law.

When asked by some Western reporters to comment on the way Russian authorities deal with opposition groups and protests at a news conference following his talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin said: “I drew her [Merkel’s] attention and I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Russian law enforcement agencies act in a far more restrained and liberal way than their counterparts in some European countries, where tear gas and police batons are used to disperse demonstrations.”

“Thank God, they didn’t have to use it in our country so far,” Putin said.

Russian law enforcement authorities do not overstep the limits of the permissible and the current laws, he said.

“Our law enforcement and judiciary bodies act in accordance with the Russian laws, and will continue to do so, while respecting order, discipline but also the right of every Russian citizen to express their point of view, but within the law,” Putin said.