Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s networks were not accused of teaching supporters how to make Molotov cocktails contrary to President Vladimir Putin’s claims, the groups' lawyers told the independent Dozhd broadcaster.
A Moscow court last week declared Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and the affiliated Citizens’ Rights Protection Organization as “extremist,” effectively dismantling Russia’s most effective opposition force ahead of key elections this September.
Navalny’s organizations “openly issued instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails for use against law enforcement officers,” Putin said at a press conference after his first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Geneva on Wednesday.
But Team 29, the association of lawyers defending Navalny’s organizations in court, told Dozhd on Thursday that the “extremism” case files contained no mention of Molotov cocktails.
The Kremlin later refused to disclose the source of Putin’s claim.
“The president has the information that he has,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “The president has the correct information.”
Navalny criticized Putin’s comments about the Molotov cocktails and his “cognizant” departure abroad for treatment that led to his arrest this year as a lie. Navalny, who scientists said was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent last summer, was evacuated from Siberia to Germany while in a coma.
“[Putin clearly has a] mental disorder when a person constantly lies from being in power too long [and having] an infinite amount of money,” Navalny wrote in an Instagram post managed by close allies.