Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday denied an incendiary report from opposition chief Alexei Navalny a couple of sprawling billion-dollar palace that helped gas ongoing protests throughout the nation – maybe the clearest signal but the autocratic chief acknowledges the seriousness of the widespread problem to his management of the federal government."None of what’s listed there [is my] property, neither me, nor my shut family. … By no means!" Putin advised a bunch of college college students in a video name, in keeping with a translation of his remarks. The president said he had not watched the video produced by Navalny concerning the $1.4 billion Black Sea advanced that Putin purportedly commissioned, which incorporates gilded state rooms, a on line casino, huge swimming swimming pools and a hookah lounge replete with a vertical pole. Reasonably, he claimed his employees had proven him a couple of particulars concerning the video, which as of Monday morning had garnered 86 million web page views within the six days since its launch. Tens of 1000’s of Russians have taken to the streets throughout that point as part of protests throughout the expansive nation, leading to harsh police crackdowns that led to three,000 arrests on Saturday alone. Additional fueling the broad dissent had been Russian authorities' brazen arrest final week of Navalny instantly after he returned to Moscow from Germany, the place he was recovering from what seems to be a nerve agent assault final fall that Navalny and his employees attribute to a Kremlin-backed goon squad. Moscow has repeatedly denied the fees. A few of Navalny's employees, together with his spokeswoman, have additionally been arrested and sentenced to days in jail. "It is a good signal for these of us who’ve been wanting ahead to democratic processes taking root in Russia," Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Estonian ambassador-at-large for cyber diplomacy, stated at an occasion Monday morning organized by The German Marshall Fund. "Navalny has executed an excellent strategic step right here by going again [to Russia] at his personal private expense, he's a really courageous individual. The stress must be mounted by us, the EU and NATO nations to help this type of civil motion in Russia."President Joe Biden has taken a tough line towards the Kremlin's crackdown – a pointy break from his predecessor, then-President Donald Trump, who hardly ever criticized Putin. The State Division in an announcement over the weekend stated it "strongly condemns the usage of harsh ways towards protesters and journalists this weekend in cities all through Russia," including that Kremlin-backed authorities are in search of to "suppress the rights to peaceable meeting and freedom of expression by harassing protest organizers, threatening social media platforms, and pre-emptively arresting potential contributors." The U.S. Embassy in Moscow shared the statements in English and Russian, drawing intense rebuke from the Kremlin. Russian Deputy International Minister Sergei Ryabkov's workplace stated he spoke with U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan over the weekend, calling on the embassy to stop issuing statements that he believes quantities to "supporting the unlawful motion in a variety of Russian cities." The embassy didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. "The American ambassador was knowledgeable that the Russian aspect is contemplating these supplies, in addition to the statements of the U.S. Division of State as direct interference within the inner affairs of our nation," a spokeswoman for Ryabkov's workplace stated in an announcement, in keeping with translation. "The diplomat was advised that the legal guidelines of the Russian Federation and usually accepted diplomatic norms have to be strictly noticed. The spokeswoman added that the ministry was working to undermine the "very giant exercise of Web giants, which, after all, are American" and "had been spreading a considerable amount of pretend info." In his name with medical college students on Monday, Putin tried to border the revelations concerning the palace in Gelendzhik he reportedly constructed as outdated and inaccurate and a overseas try to "brainwash" Russians. "This info has already been circulated for greater than 10 years. And now, for a handy alternative, they’ve assembled every part and determined to brainwash our residents with all these supplies, have launched some type of motion pictures, video packages on the Web," he stated. A partial transcript of the digital assembly printed on the Kremlin web site didn’t embody this trade. Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union's former excessive consultant for overseas affairs and safety coverage, cautions towards optimism concerning the newest protests. Additionally talking at The German Marshall Fund occasion, she noticed different civil uprisings in Japanese European nations, together with Belarus and Ukraine, have had combined outcomes and have come undone if native authorities are profitable at pinning blame on the U.S. for the unrest. "We don't know the place that is going to go," she stated.