Vladimir Putin has warned against revolutionary fervour in Russia, insisting that history shows uprisings end up "destroying, not creating".
In a newspaper article, Mr Putin set out his achievements since he came to power in 2000, and said that back then, a Russia as prosperous as it is today would have seemed "unbelievable". Mr Putin, who has been Prime Minister for the past four years, is seeking a return to the Kremlin as President in elections due on 4 March.
Mr Putin is almost certain to win the March poll, but mass protests in Moscow and other cities have changed the landscape of Russian politics. The next major protest is planned for 4 February and there is no doubt the protesters, mainly made up of middle-class Russians, present a new challenge for the authorities.
In his article, Mr Putin did not engage with any of the protesters' demands, but he did caution against rapid change. "A recurring problem in Russian history has been the elites' desire to achieve sudden change, a revolution rather than sustained development," he wrote. "Meanwhile, both Russian and global experience demonstrates how harmful these sudden historical jolts can be: jumping the gun, destroying – not creating."