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Russian President Warns Of Threat Of Extremist, Ethnic Ideology January 31, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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MOSCOW (AP)–Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday warned of the threat of extremism and ethnic and religious intolerance in the months before parliamentary elections and ordered law enforcement agencies to do more to protect the nation’s secrets.

Speaking before agents from the Federal Security service and other police officials, Putin also said that they needed to do more to combat the corruption that continues to plague Russia.

“It’s important not only to guarantee law and order, but also to protect society from attempts to throw the ideology of extremist, ethnic and religious intolerance onto the social-political field,” Putin said.

“This work must be done strictly in line with the law and all of your steps must be based on the Constitution and Russian laws,” he was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Russia will hold elections for the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, in December, and presidential elections will be in held March 2008.

The elections “are an important democratic mechanism of shaping state power with the power of responsibility, and elections with sound political competition,” he was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Putin also said the FSB and other law enforcement agencies must also do more to prevent commercial and state secrets from being leaked.

He said modern Russia was confidently integrating itself into the world economy, and that “it is important not to allow leaks of protected information from the political and economic spheres,” he said.

Last year, Putin signed into law an anti-extremism bill, under which slander or libel against government officials can qualify as extremism. The government argued that the law was needed to fight growing racism and xenophobia, but journalism watchdogs and rights groups said the law would further restrict Russia’s media and warned that it would diminish civil rights.

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