■ Please indicate the program name’JTBC Morning&’ when reporting quotes. Copyright belongs to JTBC.
■ Broadcast: JTBC Morning & / Progress: Lee Jung-heon
On the 21st, protests were held across Russia calling for the release of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalni. Western countries, such as the United States, are also demanding the release of Navalni. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Western countries not to cross the “Red Line.”
[푸틴은 물러나라! 푸틴은 물러나라!]
Massive anti-government protests have been held in the capital Moscow and other major cities in Russia. Protesters urged Putin to resign and Navalni to be released. The Russian Ministry of Interior announced that more than 14,000 people from 29 cities participated in the protests on the day. But Russia’s opposition claims that 60,000 people protested in Moscow alone. The protests on this day continued until late at night. Russian police are engaged in a massive arrest operation. So far, 26 people have been arrested in Moscow alone. In the second city of St. Petersburg, more than 1,600 protesters were reportedly arrested across Russia, with the highest number of 743 captured. Aide, including a lawyer from the Anti-Corruption Foundation led by Navalni, and Navalni’s secretary, were also arrested. But protesters are still shouting that they are not afraid. Let’s listen to it yourself.
[시위 참가자 : 우리는 불법을 싫어하고, 부패를 싫어합니다. 사람이 감옥에 갇혀서 의사도 만날 수 없는 상황도 싫습니다. 이것이 우리가 여기에 있는 이유입니다.]
Navalni’s wife also participated in the Mok’sbah protests. Navalni, in prison, is known to be in serious condition. It is said that she has paralysis in her back and legs and complains of extreme pain. It is known that from the 31st of last month, it has entered into a hunger struggle asking private medical staff to receive medical treatment. There are even observations that it could lead to death in the next few days. Western countries, including the United States, are pressing Russia to pay the price if Navalni dies. In this situation, President Putin delivered his annual state affairs speech on the 21st, when anti-government protests were held. President Putin warned strongly that attacking Russia has become a new sport for Western countries. Let’s listen.
[블라디미르 푸틴/러시아 대통령 : 우리는 정말 교류의 다리를 불태우고 싶지 않습니다. 하지만 누군가가 우리의 선의를 무관심이나 나약함으로 받아들여 결국 다리를 불태우거나 폭파시키려고 한다면, 러시아의 대응은 비대칭적이고 신속하며 단호할 것입니다.]
Let’s take a closer look at the current situation of Navalni, who is considered to be the static of President Putin, the conflict between Russia and Western countries surrounding him, and with experts. You are connected to the telephone by Byeong-hwan Park, director of the Eurasian Strategy Research Institute, who was a former Russian corporation.
Navalni’s health seems to be quite serious. A number of aides were also arrested during this protest. It seemed to have lost a lot of momentum, but can anti-government protests continue?
First of all, looking at the current situation, it seems that the launch of a Russian opposition man named Navalni, which has been persistently attempting in the West, is working. However, Navalni’s deterioration in health was the result of fasting while insisting on her release. And Navalni is not widely supported in the pan-optics of Russia. However, it is true that President Putin is receiving some support mainly from younger generations who are tired of his long-term power. Therefore, I don’t think the current protests are likely to be prolonged unless the Navalni condition worsens significantly.
On the 21st, when protests took place across Russia, President Putin gave a speech on the state affairs. I was interested in what to talk about, but in a very strong tone. Warned Western countries. How do you analyze President Putin’s intentions?
In fact, Western media have been reporting one-sided reports on the situation in Russia. And it is not yesterday or today that Western countries intervene in Russian domestic politics while financially supporting Russian civic groups. President Putin warned the West to support Navalni not to cross the red line and to stop interfering in internal affairs, but it can be said that the Russian government’s patience with the West has reached its limit. Foreign Minister Lavrov said that it could cut off relations with the West entirely, but if the West continues to intervene beyond the provinces in relation to certain Russian politicians, it is interpreted as a position that it would in some way damage the West. Of course, it could cause damage to Russia as well. I think Ma will endure it in terms of the temperament of the Russians.
The United States has warned that if Navalni dies, President Putin will pay the corresponding price. And recently, Russia and Western countries have also expelled diplomats from each other. However, they continue to send gestures of reconciliation, such as offering summit meetings to Presidents Biden and Putin. What will happen to the conflict between Western countries such as Russia and the United States in the future?
First of all, I don’t think it is appropriate to evaluate a person named Navalni as a person like Nelson Mandela, who opposed racism in South Africa in the past, or Lech Walesa, the flagship of the Polish democratic union in the 80s. In short, the West seems to be excessively playing media. For one thing, democracy is being trampled, with more than 700 civilians who resist the military in Myanmar already killed and bloodshed continues. What is the West doing against the military? And I don’t know if Russia will accept President Biden’s offer for talks. Biden dropped his tail when the press called Putin a killer, and Putin immediately asked for a live one-on-one debate. Russia may refuse to offer talks in order not to appear weak. Finally, you talked about the prospect of conflict between the Russians and the West, and I would like to ask the question whether it will be a strategic advantage for the US to push Russia into a situation where the conflict between the US and China is intensifying. I think the United States is also aware of this. Therefore, even if the conflict between Russia and the West continues, it is not expected to exceed a certain level.
On the 16th, Russian prosecutors asked the court to designate an anti-corruption foundation led by Navalni as an extremist organization. If the court accepts this, the Foundation could be disbanded, and its activists could face up to 10 years in prison. The New York Times predicted that “this action by the Russian prosecution could lead to the strongest political repression in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.”