By Anna Smolchenko
Internatioanl Herald Tribune
November 21, 2007
In one of his most aggressive attacks on opponents to date, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused foreign governments and domestic opposition of seeking to turn Russia into a “weak and ill” state and warned against the return of oligarchs and other figures from the 1990s, when the Russian economy indeed was feeble.
“Our opponents want to see us disunited,” Putin told about 5,000 supporters gathered in a sports stadium to rally around the man who has presided over eight years of oil-based growth and is leading the dominant United Russia party into Dec. 2 parliamentary elections. “Some want to take away and divide everything, and others to plunder,” Putin said.
“They will now come out into the streets – got a crash course from foreign experts, got trained in neighboring republics and will try here now,” Putin said, apparently referring to opposition activists who plan to take to Russian streets this weekend. Putin and his government have long accused the West of training the organizers of successful anti-government revolutions in recent years in Ukraine and Georgia.