Prime Minister Vladimir Putin poked fun at Russian opposition activists he claimed were funded by Western governments, by quoting from a character in Rudyard Kipling's children's classic "Jungle Book."
“It is necessary to respect all our citizens. Sure there are people who have a Russian passport but act in interests of a foreign state and for foreign money,” said Putin during a Q&A session on Thursday.
He said that there should also be dialogue with such people, though it is often “useless and impossible.”
“What can I say in this case? I can say: “Come to me, bandarlogs,” Putin said, citing python Kaa from Kipling's "Jungle Book" who lured monkeys before suffocating them.
Speaking about Saturday’s protest rally against vote violations held at the Bolotnaya Square, Putin said that he did not mind that students participating in the rally were paid.
“I know students there were paid with little sums of money…It is ok, let them moonlight a bit,” he said.
He also accused opposition leaders of insulting demonstrators at last week's protests over alleged electoral fraud.
“Do you want rulers to shout at you, saying: “Come on, you cattle!” Putin said.
Putin was referring to a remark by opposition activist during a protest on December 5.