Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sternly warned the West not to interfere in Russia’s elections, as he launched his campaign to reclaim the presidency in a speech Sunday before thousands of flag-waving supporters.
Putin stepped down in 2008 after two presidential terms, but kept his hold on power. He announced in September that he intended to return to the top job next year and was formally nominated Sunday by his United Russia party.
“All our foreign partners need to understand this: Russia is a democratic country, it’s a reliable and predictable partner with which they can and must reach agreement, but on which they cannot impose anything from the outside,” Putin told his audience.
The party congress, which was televised live, was aimed at boosting support for Putin and his party before parliamentary elections one week away.