Western governments 'unable to satisfy' protesters: Putin
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is set to return to the Kremlin next year, warned Monday that Western governments were "unable to fulfil" the demands of mass demonstrators for social and economic stability.
He warned of "the situation which we now see in some countries with developed economies when hundreds of thousands of people come out on the street -- not a fringe group, but hundreds of thousands -- and demand what the governments of these countries in fact are not able to fulfil".
He spoke after thousands marched in mass demonstrations in major cities including Rome, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo at the weekend to protest against the governments' handling of the economic crisis.
Russia, which has emerged from the 2008 economic crisis relatively unscathed, has not seen any similar mass marches.
The authorities also regularly send in riot police to break up unsanctioned rallies organised by the political opposition and rights groups.
Speaking at a televised meeting with heads of major investors in Russia including Siemens and Nestle, he stressed the need for "stability and predictability" and said that, "We do not intend to change our economic guideposts."
"It goes without saying that we will fulfil all our social obligations to our citizens," Putin told the Foreign Investment Advisory Council, established in 1994 in an attempt to improve the investment climate.
He said that Russia was criticised for spending too much on social needs, but that the public "in their daily budget, in their pocket.. must feel something is changing in the country and changing for the better".
"Only then you can count on the support of the citizens, and enjoy their trust," he said, after referring to the upcoming elections, with Russians to vote for parliament in December and president in March.
Last month, the state statistics agency revealed that the number of Russians living under the poverty line, with less than five euros per day, had risen by around two million to more than 21 million in the first six months of 2011.
© 2011 AFP