Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused numerous times of pointing out what happens in the United States as a deflection tactic for human rights violations in his own country.
So when he was pressed Wednesday (June 16) in after the summit meeting in Geneva with President Biden about the treatment of pro-democracy protesters in Russia, he cited the arrests of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol during the deadly attack on January 6, comparing them with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Putin said at his press conference that he was sympathetic to America regarding BLM, adding he does not want a similar unrest in Russia, and is the reason why he uses force to tamp down any opposition.
"America just recently had very severe events, well known events after the killing of an African American. An entire movement developed, known as Black Lives Matter,” he said. "What we saw was disorder, disruption, violations of the law, etc.
"We feel sympathy for the United States of America," Putin continued, "but we don’t want that to happen on our territory and we’ll do our utmost in order to not allow it to happen.”
During Biden’s press conference later, he was asked about the Putin’s comparison between the insurrectionists and the movement calling for police accountability.
“My response is kind of what I communicated, that I think that’s a ridiculous comparison,” Biden said. “It’s one thing for literally criminals to break through, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer and hold them accountable, than it is for people objecting and marching on the capital to say you are not allowing me to speak freely, you are not allowing me to do A, B, C, or D.”
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Five people died as a direct result of the January 6 Capitol riot, including four police officers. No one has been killed as a direct result of BLM protests that happened in hundreds of cities nationwide over the past year.
In his comments, Putin did not mention political opposition leader Alexei Navalny by name. Biden, in his presser, was asked about the imprisoned Putin critic Navalny and what he told Putin would happen if he were to die.
“I made it clear to him that I believed the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia,” Biden said. “What do you think happens when he says it’s not about hurting Navalny, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny. And then he dies in prison.”