Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said that he and his supporters are the real defenders of Russia at a rally in Moscow.
“We are the defenders of the fatherland,” Putin told a crowd of an estimated 130,000 supporters at the Luzhniki rally on Thursday, which is Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia.
“Do you love Russia?” Putin asked the crowd, which responded with loud shouts of “Yes!”
“We won’t allow anybody to interfere into our internal affairs and impose their will on us because we have our own will,” Putin said. “We are a nation of victors. It’s in our genes.”
“Please, let nobody run abroad and betray their fatherland,” he said. He did not elaborate, but his supporters earlier accused participants and leaders of recent anti-government protests of being paid by Western powers.
“We will win, but winning at the elections is not enough,” Putin said. “We need to overcome a multitude of problems such as injustice, rudeness of officials, poverty and inequality,” Putin said.
“I dream about a time when everyone in our country, big bosses and simple citizens, live in the right and honest way. It will make us stronger,” Putin said.
“The battle for Russia is raging on. We’ll be victorious,” Putin said, wrapping up his speech.