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MOSCOW, October 22 /TASS/. Most Russians regard the attacks on President Putin as personal attacks on themselves and their country, Vyacheslav Volodin, the first deputy Kremlin administration chief, told participants in a closed meeting of the Valdai international discussion club.
Commenting on his remarks in an interview with Izvestia daily, Konstantin Kostin, the head of the Civil Society Development Fund, said Volodin’s argument was clearly reflecting the state of mind of the country and its citizens: “So long as there is Putin, there will be Russia. Without Putin there is no Russia.”
According to Kostin, the Valdai discussion started with a question by Nikolai Zlobin, the head of the Global Interests Center, about the consequences of western sanctions for Russia and Russian society. Volodin answered that those who hoped that sanctions would split and demoralize the Russian society were grossly mistaken. He explained that “unlike the Russians who perceived the current attacks on their president as personal attacks on themselves and their country, western politicians did not understand the core of Russia, its fundamental values and principles.”
In his speech, Kostin said, Volodin noted that western sanctions had played a consolidating role for Russia. Most Russians remember what had happened before Putin rose to power. Therefore, they appreciate the stability and improvement in the quality of life that Vladimir Putin’s policy has brought to them.
Volodin gave an example of the latest public opinion poll that revealed that 84% of Russians supported the president’s political course while over 65% did not see any alternative to Putin at presidential elections.