Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica urged on Wednesday a "peaceful evolution" for Russia and warned against a repeat of post-Soviet chaos.
"For every single Russian, from Vladivostok to Moscow, it's better to have a stable Russia than a Russia that will make experiments and play with feelings which could be very destructive," Kusturica said at a downtown St. Petersburg news conference.
The double Palme d'Or-winning director said the Slavs possessed a "self-destructive force" and suggested that the U.S. model of democracy could not be forced upon Russia.
"How can you talk about democracy to the grass in the tundra?" he said.
Kusturica also praised Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for bringing order to Russia, but said that if he were an American he would "fight" with him.
"If I was English I would be very much against Vladimir Putin. If I was American I would even fight with him, but if I was Russian I would vote for him," the Bosnian-born director said.
Kusturica said that when Putin visited Serbia in the 2000s he was greeted as if he were a "Barcelona football player."
Putin, who was president in 2000-2008, is widely expected to win next month's presidential vote, but analysts have said rising discontent among Russia's nascent middle class could see him forced into a potentially damaging runoff.
A combined total of around 200,000 people have attended opposition rallies in Moscow alone since the December 4 parliamentary election was marred by allegations of vote-rigging in favor of Putin's United Russia party.
Kusturica's band, the No-Smoking Orchestra, is due to play a gig in St. Petersburg tonight.
But he denied reports the concert was in support of Putin's bid to return to his old job in the Kremlin and also said that he was not "engaged as a propaganda man."
"I am very free, I’m expressing myself and my intellectual beliefs," he said.
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