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Putin Takes Tough Stance on Protests, Warns of Arab Spring Chaos

  • Russian leader vows to punish violators in line with law
  • Opposition exploiting anti-corruption for ‘selfish goals’
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QuickTake: Vladimir Putin's Russian Popularity Test

Russian President Vladimir Putin took a tough stance on the biggest mass protests of the past five years, comparing them to the bloodshed and chaos unleashed by the so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions and uprising in neighboring Ukraine.

“The fight against corruption has become an instrument for selfish political goals,” Putin said at an international forum on the Arctic in the northern city of Arkhangelsk on Thursday, in his first public comments on the March 26 rallies. “I think it isn’t right when certain political forces try to use this tool to promote themselves ahead of some political events, including electoral campaigns.”