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Putin a Danger to Russia – Jailed Opposition Leader Navalny

Alexei Navalny appearing at a court hearing via video link from prison. Yuri Kochetkov / EPA / TASS

The biggest threat to Russia is the regime of President Vladimir Putin, jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on Tuesday, in his first comments since an aborted Wagner mutiny.

"There is no bigger threat to Russia than Putin's regime," Navalny wrote on social media. "Putin's regime is so dangerous to the country that even its inevitable demise will create the threat of civil war," he wrote.

"The fact that the war started by Putin could destroy and break up Russia is no longer a dramatic statement."

The rebellion by Wagner mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin sparked Russia's largest political crisis in decades.

Prigozhin, embroiled in a long-running feud with Russia's military leadership over the war, ordered his forces to march on Moscow, before abruptly telling them to turn around.

"It's not the West or the opposition that shot down Russian helicopters over Russia... that put Russia on the threshold of a civil war," Navalny said. 

"Putin did this himself. It is he who personally pardoned all of these convicts who were headed to kill (Defense Minister Sergei) Shoigu and whoever else they wanted to kill."

"Today we understand clearly: the band of Putin supporters are ready to start a war against anyone at any moment. That's why it's extremely important to remember that any post-Putin transition must include free elections."

"It's not democracy, human rights and parliament who weaken authorities and lead to turmoil. It's dictators and the usurpation of power that lead to disorder, weak government and chaos. Always."

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