ABC News correspondent Rachel Scott aggressively pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, confronting him on his authoritarian tendency to crush political dissidence—and refusing to let the leader slide when he attempted to sidestep the question.
“The list of your political opponents who are dead, imprisoned, or jailed is long. Alexei Navalny, whose organization calls for free and fair elections and an end to corruption,” Scott said during a press conference following Putin’s summit with President Joe Biden. “But Russia has outlawed that organization—calling it extremist. And you have now prevented anyone who supports him from running for office. So my question to you, Mr. President: What are you so afraid of?”
After Putin engaged in whataboutism by focusing on social and political turmoil in the United States, Scott fired back at the autocrat. “You didn’t answer my question, sir,” the ABC reporter forcefully exclaimed. “If all of your political opponents are dead, in prison, or poisoned, doesn’t that send a message that you do not want a fair political fight?”
Once again, all Putin could do was employ his favorite tactic, this time referencing the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and arrests of Capitol rioters to defend his actions against political protesters, claiming “many countries are going through exactly what we are going through.”