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Russian President Medvedev Says Arab World May ‘Fall to Pieces’

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said extremism may spread in the Middle East, causing Arab states to “fall to pieces,” following a wave of discontent in the region.

“Look at the situation in the Middle East and the Arab world,” he told a security meeting today in the city of Vladikavkaz in the volatile Russian North Caucasus region in comments broadcast by state television. “It is quite possible that complicated events will take place including fanatics coming to power. It will mean fires for decades and a further spread of extremism.”

Uprisings have toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, with demonstrations spreading to Bahrain, Yemen, Iran and Algeria. Violence intensified in Libya yesterday as the government attacked protesters and rebels claimed control of the second-biggest city, Benghazi.

Medvedev said a similar scenario had been prepared for Russia, but it wouldn’t succeed. He didn’t specify to whom he was referring.

Separately, Medvedev called on citizens to help domestic law-enforcement agencies to fight terrorism.

Last month’s suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport killed 36 people including foreigners and injured dozens more in the second major attack on the Russian capital in less than a year. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for both bombings and vowed a “year of blood and tears” for Russia.

“Those who seek blood will get bogged down in their own blood,” Medvedev said today. “Neither we, nor other countries, can afford a different approach. Even those who fiercely criticized us 10 years ago understand it now.”

Chechen rebels fought two wars against the federal government since 1994. The separatist movement grew into an Islamist insurgency that took its fight to neighboring provinces in Russia’s mostly Muslim North Caucasus region.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in Moscow at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Willy Morris at wmorris@bloomberg.net

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