Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has warned Western powers against meddling in Russia’s forthcoming elections after agreeing to stand for president in March 2012.
Addressing a glitzy congress of the ruling United Russia party on Sunday, Putin said any attempts by “foreign states” to influence Russia’s political process would be "futile."
Russia will hold a crucial parliamentary vote next week, followed by presidential elections in March next year.
“Representatives of some foreign states” were paying politically-active NGOs in Russia to “influence the course of the election campaign in our country,” Putin said to a roar of approval and applause.
Such defiant rhetoric has come to dominate Russian political discourse since liberal revolutions in neighboring Ukraine and Georgia in the early 2000s forced pro-Kremlin leaders from power there.
“It would be better if they used this money to pay off their national debt and stop conducting an ineffective and costly foreign policy,” he said in a clear reference to the debt-ridden United States.
"It's a wasted effort, like throwing money to the wind," he added.
Lilia Shibanova, the head of Russia’s main independent observer group Golos, said Putin’s stinging warning reveals his “total misunderstanding” of the current climate in Russia.
“They have cornered themselves by creating the only governing party, by impeding normal political competition and turning the political process into a monopoly,” Shibanova said. “This has nothing to do with monitoring.”
“What they’ll get is even fiercer protests of the liberal opposition,” she added.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.
Users can initiate the recovery of their account / unlock access by contacting the moderators at email@example.com
The letter must contain:
If the moderators deem it possible to restore the account / unlock access, it will be done.
In the case of repeated violations of the rules above resulting in a second block of a user’s account, access cannot be restored.
To contact the team of moderators, write to firstname.lastname@example.org