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KISLOVODSK, January 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the attempts to stir up ethnic strife in the North Caucasus mean betrayal. He stated this at the Forum of South Russia’s People here on Monday.
“We will always remember those who in the 90s, quite recently, upheld peace in the North Caucasus, fought for the country’s integrity,” the premier said. “Terrorists were given a crushing rebuff. Handouts from abroad, instructions, ideological incitement were of no avail. They have been unable to dupe people. Those who don’t want to be slaves cannot be forced to their knees,” he said.
Putin recalled the role Dagestan’s Botlikh had played in repulsing international terrorism’s aggression. “Without any outside prodding, without any directives and even without arms people rose to defend Russia’s interests and their own homes,” he said. Among those who gave their lives in the fight against terrorism were ordinary people, servicemen of the Russian Army, militiamen, Cossacks, clergymen and public figures, journalists, Putin added.
“They were people of different nationalities and different creed. I must tell you frankly that any attempts to stir up interethnic and interreligious strife are betrayal of their memory,” Putin said. “It is betrayal by those who now try to capitalize on the nationalities theme and to whip up separatist and nationalistic attitudes,” Putin said.