"The government's task is to scare you and then persuade you that you are alone. Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to feel cut off," Putin critic Alexei Navalny said Saturday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany has "nothing to do" with the U.S.
The opposition politician has been jailed following protests across Russia, but his profile has exploded on social media.
Executive director of Navalny's anti-corruption foundation, Vladimir Ashurkov, told Newsweek that "support for Putin is ebbing."
The Levada Center survey found more Russians expected protests but that fewer wanted to attend them.
Yevgeny Agafonov was arrested in St. Petersburg despite not taking part in the protests in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul told Newsweek that the U.S. should be not help the Russian opposition.
The Russian opposition leader had been arrested in Moscow upon arrival from Berlin where he had been treated for Novichok poisoning.
The Kremlin responded by accusing the U.S. and Secretary of State Blinken of "crude interference" in their domestic affairs.
Demonstrations in support of the jailed Kremlin critic are expected to take place on Sunday in at least 53 cities across Russia.
Elena Kalinina, from the Arkhangelsk region, put anti-Putin slogans on placards and hung them around the necks of snowmen outside her house.
Russian and foreign media saw different causes in the protests calling for the release of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.
Demonstrations from Moscow to Vladivostok took place on Saturday calling for the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Russia's media watchdog has asked the video-sharing app to clamp down on posts calling for young people to attend nationwide protests on Saturday.
Navalny was arrested on Sunday after he arrived in Moscow from Berlin, where he had been treated for Novichok poisoning
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "it is only possible to welcome" a U.S. move to extend the arms reduction treaty, which expires on February 5.
The former Russian president said he is pessimistic a Biden presidency would mean better ties between Washington and the Kremlin.
The Russian president was speaking during his annual marathon press conference which took place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The opposition leader told Spanish paper El Pais: "Putin wants to be the czar of Russia. He doesn't like anyone who opposes him."
The Netherlands said that the two Russians were seeking information on artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and nanotechnology.
Andrei Belousov made the comments as the Kremlin spokesman said it was too early to congratulate Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. election.
The president-elect has previously blamed Putin's regime for the poisoning of Alexey Navalny, vowing to work with allies to hold the Russian leader's government "accountable for its crimes."
Russian politicians and media hold little hope that ties between Moscow and Washington will improved regardless of the election's final outcome.
Scott Atlas told RT Saturday that government lockdown measures, and to a lesser extent coronavirus, are what's really killing people.
Former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov said Trump has been unable to revive U.S.-Russian ties despite his warmth towards President Vladimir Putin.
Russian officials have repeatedly framed complaints about election meddling as fake news and Russophobia.
U.S. senators have introduced a bi-partisan bill titled the "Holding Russia Accountable for Malign Activities Act of 2020."
State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said foreign operators such as German intelligence agents may have poisoned the Kremlin critic.