Russia could collapse in 'two or three wrong steps': Putin
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday sought to defend his controversial plan to seek a third mandate as president, saying Russia needed stability and was only a few steps from a return to the collapse of the 1990s.
Putin's political opponents claim that "everything is so bad, that it could not get worse," the Russian leader said in televised remarks in a rare acknowledgement of public discontent.
"Saying that things cannot get worse, I would be careful. It's enough to take two or three wrong steps and everything that was before could overwhelm us so quickly that we would not even have time to look around."
"Everything here is tacked together, both in politics and in the economy," Putin said in a startling admission of the fragility of the stability that he prides himself on bringing to Russia since coming to power in 1999.
He referred to the troubled North Caucasus, saying that "we still have many problems there," while admitting that Russia as a whole has problems "with crime and terrorism."
© 2011 AFP