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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  January 28, 2021 4:30am-5:00am GMT

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this is bbc news, the headlines: president biden has signed a series of executive orders to try to reduce the impact of climate change. he's called it an existential threat. he's said climate considerations should be a focus of american foreign and national security policy, and said the us must lead the global response. among the measures announced is a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public land. the row between the pharmaceutical company astrazeneca and the european union over a shortage of coronavirus vaccines has escalated. the eu's health commissioner has insisted that astrazeneca come up with a clear plan to deliver on their contractual obligations to supply vaccines. a team of world health organisation experts in wuhan are to begin investigating the origins of the pandemic. they've been isolating in the chinese city for the last two weeks — and will study research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market linked to the initial outbreak.
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now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. russian opposition leader is the most resilient opponent vladimir putin has ever spaced. resilient opponent vladimir putin has everfaced. navalny survived the attempted assassination by novichok, returned to russia and is now orchestrating anti—putin protests from his prison cell. the head of staff, the opposition movement has supporters willing to take to the streets and hundreds of russian towns and cities and do they have a strategy capable of forcing vladimir putin
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from power? 0k leonid volkov in lithuania, welcome to hardtalk. he must establish what kind of contact you have with alexei navalny right now, do you have any means of contacting him? the only way to contact him is through his lawyers, not even the relatives, but the lawyers are allowed to visit him two or three times a week and they do not enter a privacy and so it is supervised contact but still, we managed at least to pass some basic information
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on what is going on. but they're not orchestrating progress from the cell is a little bit too much. actually, he is not able to do it, but his political structures he has built, is capable at least for some time of keeping them moving forward along with the directions. we discussed this with him when he he left berlin for moscow. what kind of what kind of condition is he in? is the end. recovering from a near—death experience with the nerve agent and he did recover. clearly, he is not physically he was. how is he now? he recovered physically quite well. important condition for his decision to go back to russia because he realised he would face serious risks a while back in russia
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and he wanted to be ready and to be completely fit and so his physical condition is fine and he is in solitary confinement in a prison called matrovska. it is quite an infamous one. it is a prison where sergie magnitsky the lawyer was tortured and died back in 2009. are you implying to me that he is undergoing any sort of physical or mental abuse or torture right now? no. definitely no. but it is definitely also not the best place in the room for them to be in that the safest world. it is a prison run by the russian secret service. so, he is in custody of that very people who tried to kill him just five months ago. let me ask you about this notion in charge right now. as i understand it, and mass of january 23 effort to get people out on the streets
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which saw protests in a hundred or so russian towns and cities, there is now a plan to undertake another set of demonstrations on january 31. you are telling me that navalny is in no place to actually orchestrate and manage the protest movement so who is making this decision? is it new? yes, i managed the original network for navalny political original office across the country. yes, i am in charge of the organisation of this rallies. onjanuary 23, we have 177 participants, all russian citizens, towns of 50,000—plus, maybe, and some smaller ones. now, the hope is that february we will be able to get
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even more citizens on the streets. you must be mindful that more than 3,000 people were arrested and there was some violence as well. is it responsible to ask people to go back on the streets at a time of covid, when it is advised that people stay well apart from each other. you want them to gather together and you want them to face what could be more heavy—handed police action. how responsible is that? almost 4,000 people were detained on january 23 but most of them were released. those who stay under arrest, like several dozens of people who stay under arrest until now, are our local regional coordinators. navalny officers of the country, 75% of them are under arrest now in localjails. so, we take the most powerful, below from the
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government for organising those rallies so the local activists and regular participants of these protest rallies are not under severe risks but the organisers of the employees are. here you sit in lithuania, in a political exile at the moment they really run the risk of being picked up and detained at any moment. that is true and morally it is complicated. that is true and morally it is complicated for me. i had to move out from russia because when i was in russia, i was in detention, like, constantly, i was arrested nine times and spent over four months in detention and then i was risking prolonged prison terms of several years. it was the decisions
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that we have to make and authorises someone has to stay out of the country and out of prison to manage our movement and i would say that, of course, i would prefer to be in moscow first on the streets with our supporters and then in the detention centre, where you basically, like, read books and sleeps a lot and don't have to care about very many things and don't have to take a lot of responsibility. now, indeed, there's a lot of responsibility because first of all we have to organise something while almost all of our staff is under arrest and that is really quite a challenge and we are working really hard because we have only 25% or our staff out ofjail right of now.
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so, everyone has to work four—fold of the usual amount. these repeated demonstrations which are likely to lead to more arrests, are you in danger of overplaying your hand? i am mindful in the last few days that the putin government has demonstrated that it is been violent in putting children in front of the demonstrations according to the government and draws comparison with terrorists and environment has said be very careful of those who serve the seeds of chaos and instability. we know that it is the ordinary people who suffer. that is a message that russian people may listen to. i don't know if russian people really want to listen to his messages anymore.
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and a poisoner and a thief, and they know that in the south of russia, of £1 billion. they are worried about the alexei navalny poisonings a while back and therefore the instigation which was conducted by the fsb squad, by mr putin's orders. and this propaganda, based on lies, is not anymore sufficient as it used to be just several years ago. and as he says, those who put children in front are terrorists, while there is no record of children participating in our protests. just today, i recorded another video asking and urging parents not to take people to protest, but it is putin's actions not to take people to protest, but it is putin's famous quote from 2014, the annexation crimea when he said on record
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that if the ukrainian military would like to go shoot the russian military, we will let the women and children in front of our soldiers so that they will have to shoot at women and children. so, putin pretty much described himself as as terrorist and that is true, he is a terrorist. you made a series of charges there against vladimir putin and his government that they reject out of hand. with your strategy, your incredibly confrontational strategy right now, as you've just raised it of the video this vast palace on the black sea, worth $1 billion, that is entirely for the use of vladimir putin and you point to the claims that you say a pole dancing arena, there is a casino, there are toilet brushes from italy with $800.
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it seems to me you're trying to ridicule and humiliate vladimir putin. is that your strategy now? that is true and he deserves to be ridiculed and humiliated because putin's propaganda has worked hard to build an image of a strategy of geopolitical strategies of a great leader, while he used to have a very unsuccessful career with the secret service. he did much worse than his colleagues, he was not a brilliant spy or something like this and now, we are able to have a look inside his palace. it is also a look inside his head, his mind we saw that it is just a very small man, that of a leprechaun who just wants to have as much gold as possible and that's it. the thing is, the more you personalise this, you make it all about vladimir putin, and it's navalny versus putin.
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the more the danger surely is that you entrench vladimir putin and you don't actually build an organisation capable of strategic long—term opposition from the grassroots up. what you are doing is building up navalny as this sort of theatrical hero to take on the evil putin, but that isn't necessarily going to make your organisation capable of all of the heart determined strategic work to build an effective opposition. well, first of all, you probably do not have to use a western approach to russia politics because as you know, it is not proper to build a proper grassroots political organisation in russia. you just get repressed by the government. as we are talking right now, all of our offices once again are being searched by the police, all equipment seized,
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pretty much everyone of those who was still enjoying relative freedom are being put to jail, so and so, in view of the upcoming protest of them of january 31, organisation. if you're saying all we've got is the ability to create sensational headlines and to personalise this, what is the long—term strategy? there's an anti—putin commentator in the united kingdom, i'm sure you know his work, ed lucas, who says out loud that the opposition is in danger of building a scenario a bit like belarus, where you can get someone out on the streets but you are not able to deliver the organisation and the activism across the country to really begin to undermine putin's grip on power. but that is wrong because what we already have in place
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is a political organisation. you cannot get people out on the streets and 177 cities wihtout a political organisation. they have alexei navalny offices, which is a grassroots organisation up and running in a0 cities. we have several hundred thousands of volunteers who participate in activism and local products in those regions. so, we are an organisation as you just described and proved that this organisation is efficient, it was able to organise country—wide protests in —30 degrees and against enormous terrorist propaganda campaigns that campaign for days using channels of television and thousands of channels of propaganda and everyone who decides to turn out will be harassed and beaten by police
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and so on and so on. despite 300,000 coming out. the point of the comparison with belarus is surely that the police, the security services, the entire security structure in belarus right now appears to be staying loyal to the president, and as far as we can tell, in russia, the security apparatus to president vladimir putin. is it true that on the next demonstration, your encouraging people in moscow to demonstrate outside of the headquarters of the intelligence services? yes, indeed. 0ur assembly on the first is sfb headquarters because they are people responsible for killings, tortures, poisoning alexei navalny and i think it's the best place to protest. but isn't that simply point to ensure that operatives inside the fsb in the security apparatus view you as the enemy?
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they already do, and that is within strategy. as lukasheckno did, he'll agonise the security forces again against the peaceful protesters, civil society and that is what we have, that is the reality that we face and you are right, it is very severe and dangerous. 300,000 people turned out for this protest on january 23 but 30 million watched broadcasts life, 30 million people followed. a hundred times more. it denots that among the 30 million that would
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join the protest, the 99 out of a hundred or scared. and that is because the police violence and this organisation. if you believe that the security apparatus regards you as the enemy and you have no hope of building bridges or winning some of them over, than it seems to me that the more you bring people out into the streets as you plan to do if the next few weeks and months, the more likely it is that you're going to plunge russia into long—term civil conflict. is that what you want? there is no way is civil conflict, civil war will happen. but there is a civil war in terms of propaganda. there is a very strong contact in this organisation. putin and his propaganda machine and normal people, he is trying to scare people and prohibit everything. but in terms of conflict using weapons, it is not possible it's not going to happen just because our demonstrations are always peaceful and peoplejust do not have weapons on their hands and russia. but we want to achieve is to get back at least some of
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the political freedoms we have lost over the last two years. we want to get back at least the right to participate in elections. we have an election scheduled in just eight months and we want to be participating, and we think its still possible. your political strategy is the aim of those parliamentary elections in september, but you know that the russian government has ways of banning political parties it doesn't like and that is probably going to have it to the party that you and alexei navalny created. what is your strategy? are going to try to find independent candidates to vote for the best anti—vladimir putin option? exactly. that is what doing.
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we will identify those candidates that have the best chance to prevail and in the districts. even if our candidates are not again admitted to the ballot, and this will help us to create as much political turbulence as possible just for the parliament lease to become not unipartisan, more diverse. you have complained to me that the state control of most of these media. particularly television broadcast media in russian makes it very difficult for the opposition. i am mindful that you are a bit of a computer guru, do you believe that the russian state is going to continue to allow you to use social media platforms, particularly like youtube, tick—tock and other platforms to get your message across to the young russian people? so far, you are achieving that but
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we all know that russia's pretty sophisticated in its ability to control the internet and even social media platforms and so, perhaps you're going to find you are running out of road, even online? we do not need their approval. we are quite sophisticated in technical things. we know we can overcome most threats they are able to use against us. and we know how to educate people to use vpn and tools to overcome the blacklists. at least, we can compete with them and as of now, we are competing quite successfully.
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the website for smart voting, where we issue our advice for support the district is actually technically blocked by the russian government. and it cannot be accessed from russia. still, it is up and running and accessible. some of the russian media is describing alexei navalny as a puppet of the west, and withjoe biden in the white house and saying that he's going to bring about a very different policy towards vladimir putin and he raised the issue of alexei navalny in the poisoning are you calling on thejoe biden administration and the west to be much tougher with the sanctions? we are calling onthe west to be much tougher. vladimir putin possible is money if they're able to corrupt and drop political institutions in the west. corrupting political institutions and you can see how many european politicians
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are overly dependent on his money and it is time to do something against this as we have said many times, it is time to hunt and freeze those assets. that technically belong to russian oligarchs but actually, belong to vladimir putin and mainly, most of his friends and they are just parts of his wallet. you said to me part of your strategy right now is to personalise this is a struggle between alexei navalny and vladimir putin, but the truth is that he faces a new court hearing after which he may well be charged with new crimes. crimes that could keep him in prison for many years to come. isn't that really the problem that you've got, that he may well be behind bars for a very long time and without him, your movement has a fundamental problem of leadership? 0ur movement has
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proven that it is able to operate with him as a symbol. when he was under house arrest in 2014 for a year, cut off from communications, when he was in berlin for a month, when he was detained for several months, we were all able to operate to know what to do, and in the case where alexei navalny is in prison, he becomes a symbol, a anthem and a natural point of consolidation, do not give up to the regime for any reason and you're right, all the efforts are concentrated to work on the upcoming court hearings and that is why we are staging those protests right now because it is important for us and if this court loses, we all know that for this division, it will be entirely political and depends on how much pressure we
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will be able to put on vladimir putin and his courts on the russian streets. leonid volkov, i thank you very much forjoining me me on hardtalk. thank you. hello there. a bit of the weather tussle going on in the skies above the uk of the next few days between cold air to the north and east of us in milder air to the south and west. during the next 24 hours, it's the milder air which will win through for many but on this
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dividing line we are going to see quite an active weather system and that's going to produce on one side pretty heavy rainfall. northern ireland, north—west england of greatest concern where we could see 1 or 2 inches of rain, adding to the flood concern. 0n the colder side of our weather system the hills of northern england, southern scotland and into central and northern scotland we could see significant snow which could have an impact on some of the higher road. it's here where we start the day start coldest of all. maybe temperatures as low as —6 degrees compared to 10 or 11 in parts of cornwall. big north—south contrast. there is the dividing line, that area of rain, sleet and hill snow, through the morning rush hour pushing its way northwards. drying up and brightening up to the south quite misty and murky underneath that weather front but you can see that it's on these higher sites were more likely to see the snow. that rain—sleet—snow mix is going to hang around across parts of central scotland, moving into northern scotland as we go through the day. it does allow skies to brighten in england and wales but stays mostly misty and murky in the north but with sunnier skies and a bit of a breeze,
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it will stay incredibly mild average is up to 14 degrees compared to just 4 in aberdeen, 2 in lerwick where it should stay dry and bright through much of the day. should stay dry and brighter much of the day for another batch of rain comes through thursday evening for that rain rather than snow. milder air snow continues to fall in northern parts of scotland. some heavy, thundery showers into the first part of friday morning across the south. we've still got those north—south contrast as far as temperatures are concerned. widespread frost in the far north of scotland where you've got some snow and some icy conditions to start friday. that will still be there on friday morning. rain across southern scotland, northern england fizzling out. a few heavy, maybe thundery showers across the south but a better chance of sunshine winning through friday. temperatures still in double figures in the south but the colder air starting to fight its way back. and it will continue to try and push back as we go into the weekend. notice how it's pushing its way southwards. this swirl here is an indication of a weather system which could bring another mix of rain, sleet and snow on saturday across england and wales ahead of a potentially that fight goes
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on into next week too.
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will you
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this is bbc news — i'm victoria fritz with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. after the european union's attack on astrazeneca over a shortfall in vaccine doses, there are signs of agreement after a meeting described as constructive. in my view, we've already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. we waited too long to deal with this climate crisis.- this climate crisis. we can't wait any — this climate crisis. we can't wait any longer. _ he calls it an existential threat. a warning from president biden as he signs a series of executive orders to make climate change a foreign policy and national security priority. how did the pandemic start? world health organisation experts finally end their


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