Putin in angry Cold War warning to West
RUSSIAN Prime Minister Vladimir Putin used the rhetoric of the Cold War yesterday to accuse the West of trying to meddle in his nation's forthcoming elections.
Speaking before a parliamentary vote this weekend that his party is expected to win, the country's de facto president-in-waiting told the West to stop interfering in Russia's affairs and to cease funding human rights groups that he likened to Judas Iscariot.
"We know representatives of some countries meet with people they fund, so-called grant receivers, and give them instructions and guidance for what work they need to do to influence the election campaign in our country," he alleged.
In a jab at the US and the EU, he said such countries would do better "to use the money to pay back their domestic debt".
Mr Putin's words were received by 11,000 supporters at a football stadium in Moscow, who showered him with applause and chants of "Putin", "Russia" and "the people trust Putin!".
The purpose of the gathering was for his ruling United Russia party to endorse him as its official candidate for March's presidential election, which it unanimously did.
Although his party has seen its popularity slide in recent months, its total control of state media and other levers of power means it is expected to win next Sunday's parliamentary vote comfortably. Mr Putin is also expected to win the presidency easily in March.
Mr Putin added "all our foreign partners" must understand "they cannot impose anything from the outside". Mr Putin could potentially serve two six-year terms in a row, keeping him in the Kremlin until 2024. (© Daily Telegraph, London)