Putin plays to the crowd as he prepares presidential return
Vladimir Putin accused the West of meddling in Russian politics yesterday, in a carefully choreographed event during which he was officially nominated by his United Russia party to run for a return to the presidency next year.
Mr Putin, in a speech to over 10,000 delegates packed into a Moscow stadium, was repeatedly interrupted by football-style chants of his name, as he laid out his credentials.
Mr Putin moved aside for Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, and has spent the past four years as Prime Minister, but two months ago he announced that he planned to return to the top job, and will stand in March elections. With sliding but still high popularity ratings, and complete control of the airwaves, he is almost guaranteed to win.
A crude nationalism coursed through Mr Putin's speech to the assembled faithful, and on several occasion he led the crowd in chants of "Russia! Russia!" He said that unspecified, nefarious foreign countries trying to influence Russia's elections were "throwing money to the wind," and added that Western countries should focus instead on paying off their own debts.
Mr Medvedev, still technically the President, was clearly playing second fiddle, as his speech was interrupted with "Putin" chants.
Mr Putin is eligible for another two six-year terms, meaning he could be in power until 2024.
Mr Medvedev has said he will be Prime Minister under a new Putin presidency, but some analysts say this is unlikely, and that he will be nudged into a lower profile role.
United Russia is expected to get a healthy majority in parliamentary elections this Sunday, but the ruling elite is concerned at rapidly falling popularity figures. Mr Putin was booed last week as he addressed a stadium of martial arts fans.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...