Federation Council: Russian opposition should prove its political relevance by deeds

Opposition leaders such as Alexei Navalny and Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov are "posing absolutely no threat" to Russia's leadership, Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the country's parliament, said.

It is obvious that "protest activity is subsiding" due to, among other reasons, the opposition's lack of any agenda, she said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper.

"What are the reasons for an increase in protest activity in Russia today? I do not see any serious reasons. Despite all difficulties, the authorities have not scaled down their social commitments. On the contrary, they have regularly raised pensions and salaries of individual categories of citizens," she said.

The latest political activity is quite normal, Matviyenko said.

"But staging rallies for the sake of rallies and the publicity of opposition leaders is nothing more that a deadlock," she said.

"The protest genre is in crisis today because their criticism was not backed up by any proposals. They need to prove their political relevance and the validity of their criticism of the authorities by actually doing something," Matviyenko said.

As an example, she referred to public activist Yevgenia Chirikova, who is running for the post of Khimki's mayor.

"Let's take Chirikova. She is an ardent opposition activist, who decided to run in the elections. No one stopped her from doing so. Now it is up to Khimki residents to determine her further political career. It is normal," Matviyenko said.

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