Putin says Russia needs strong rule for stability

MOSCOW - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned parliament on Wednesday that Russia’s elite should unite under his strong rule to ensure stability in an uncertain world dogged by economic and political turmoil.

By Gleb Bryanski And Guy Faulconbridge (Reuters)

Published: Wed 23 Nov 2011, 6:18 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:23 AM

Speaking to lawmakers less than two weeks before a Dec. 4 election which his ruling party is expected to win, Putin underscored the need for his style of leadership as Russia watches the euro zone debt crisis and the Arab Spring revolts.

“We have a great many uncertainties and risks ahead and in a storm, in a gale, in crisis conditions, it is very important that the whole team works in a coordinated way so that the ship does not capsize,” Putin said.

“The stability of the country, its sovereignty, the prosperity of its people are things which should push party interests, any clan or group interests to the back,” Putin told lawmakers at parliament’s last session before the election.

The 59-year-old leader said he expected the opposition not to rock the boat and that the array of challenges facing Russia meant the authorities had to “hold the tiller firmly”.

He grimaced at some lawmakers who failed to stand when he entered the lower house of parliament for its last session before the election but thanked them all for their work.

After 12 years at the pinnacle of Russia’s political system first as president and then as prime minister, Putin is almost certain to win a March presidential election, giving him a 6-year term as Kremlin chief.


With more than half a trillion in foreign currency and gold reserves, foreign debt of less than 10 percent of gross domestic product and high prices for oil and gas, Russian officials are confident they can brave a severe world economic downturn.

But opponents say Putin has crafted a tightly controlled political system which is brittle because it relies on his personal popularity and high oil prices.

Opinion polls show the former KGB spy is still Russia’s most popular politician though Putin was greeted by boos and whistles when he spoke at a martial arts event in Moscow on Sunday.

Opponents said the outburst showed a taboo on voicing or broadcasting unrehearsed public discontent with Russia’s paramount leader was beginning to melt.

When Putin walked into the lower house of parliament, some deputies from the Communist Party and from Just Russia - both of which portray themselves as opponents of the Kremlin - failed to stand, a break with tradition.

“I would like to address with words of thanks today to all deputies in the state Duma ... and those who rose today in the chamber and also those who considered it impossible or unnecessary to stand up today,” Putin said.

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