OREANDA-NEWS. According to Jürgen Hardt, an expert on foreign policy issues of the CDU/CSU faction in the Bundestag, the protests in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for the first time in a long time have shaken the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The deputy from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said this in an interview with the Neue Passauer Presse newspaper, published on Tuesday, January 26.

He said, that Europe should «clearly» convey to Russia the call to release Navalny and «treat him fairly». At the same time, the expert opposed the introduction of new sanctions against the Russian Federation, as «Putin would use this to discredit the opposition, calling it controlled from abroad, which is actually wrong», said Hardt.

Navalny was detained on January 17 at Sheremetyevo Airport on his return from Germany, where he was undergoing treatment after being poisoned with the banned military substance «Novichok». The opposition leader was arrested for 30 days, the trial is scheduled for February 2. His arrest sparked mass protests across Russia and abroad on January 23. After them, 3.770 people were detained — a record number in the modern history of the country. Navalny's associate Leonid Volkov announced a new protest action on January 31.