Ilya Klebanov: Russia has no political prisoners

Russia has no political prisoners, Ilya Klebanov, the president's representative to the Northwest Region, said Thursday in answering a foreign reporter who asked why Russia arrests, in violation of all democratic norms, people whom the authorities find troublesome. 'If you are talking about the YUKOS situation, that is not about politics,' Klebanov insisted. 'Like any other government, Russia must crack down on any non-payment of taxes by representatives of business; otherwise we will never build a strong society.' Russian laws, Klebanov added, are in most cases more liberal than similar laws in the West.

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