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Putin, after Merkel talks, denies Navalny's jailing was political

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied Western accusations that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was jailed for his political activities and said he was punished for breaking the law.

Navalny is serving 2-1/2 years in jail for parole violations in an embezzlement case he says was trumped up. Navalny’s allies accuse the authorities of using the law to crush dissenting voices before parliamentary elections next month.

Putin, in comments at a Moscow news conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that Russian society needed to evolve rather than change via revolutions.

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