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Kremlin Downplays Russia Protests

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, left, speaks during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 9, 2012.

The Kremlin on Tuesday downplayed recent protests in Russia and rejected the suggestion they have created a political crisis in the country.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that President Vladimir Putin has not commented on the demonstrations because he does not see them as "exceptional."

Peskov also defended the actions of police, saying their firm actions at the protests was justified.

In the latest protest Sunday, tens of thousands of people gathered in central Moscow as they criticized the exclusion of several opposition candidates from upcoming local elections.

The protest was one of the largest in Russia in eight years.

Police have arrested several thousand protesters at rallies during the past month.