MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. The loss of patriotism is the first step to a global catastrophe and needs to be prevented, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with teachers.
"It is a very dangerous thing, the first step to a global catastrophe," he said. "We should by no means let this happen," the Russian leader added.
At the same time, he emphasized the importance of preserving national identity. "This is what allows us to pick up our spirits and close ranks," he pointed out. The president also said that this referred to various nationalities living in Russia, as well as to the nation in general. "This is what unites us, this is what we’ve got," Putin stressed.
He then quoted a poem by 19th century poet Mikhail Lermontov, entitled Motherland, in which the poet said that he had "a strange love" for his country. Putin quoted the lines where Lermontov says he loves Russia’s forests and rivers, as well as the song and dance of drunken countrymen.
"The love for the Motherland is extremely important," the head of state said.
He added that if people felt this love, they would not leave the country to reside abroad.