‘We prefer Putin’s approach’: How Russian leader’s iconic phrase went viral after Paris attacks

French fire brigade members aid an injured individual near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France, November 13, 2015. © Christian Hartmann
In the wake of Friday’s Paris attacks, French social media users have been posting and reposting a catchphrase by Vladimir Putin, who famously called for terrorists to be “wasted… in the outhouse.” Some say they like this approach better than Hollande's “non-action” calls.

The phrase has become famous and dates back to 1999, when Putin was Russia's prime minister. At that time the country faced terror on a large scale as it was fighting jihadists in the Caucasus during the second Chechen campaign. He was commenting on the Russian anti-terrorist operation in the city of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic, and the catchphrase became an illustration of his hardline attitude toward terrorists.

"We are going to pursue terrorists everywhere. If they are in the airport, we will pursue them in the airport. And if we capture them in the toilet, then we will waste them in the outhouse. … The issue has been resolved once and for all,” he told Russian media.

READ MORE: 15 years in power: RT traces Vladimir Putin's presidential path

Since then the phrase has become Putin's catchphrase and has resurfaced on social media occasionally, especially after terrorist attacks. It was widely re-tweeted after the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2014, as social media users called for a tougher approach in dealing with terrorism.
In recent days, French Twitter users have posted: “On ira les buter jusque dans les chiottes,” [We will waste them in the outhouse] – sometimes accompanied by a picture of Putin.

Others contrasted Putin’s phrase with the recent statements by French politicians on Paris attacks, apparently preferring the harsh way to tackle extremism voiced by the Russian president.

“[French Prime Minister Manuel] Valls: “We are going to live with this terrorist threat for a long time.” Putin: “We will waste them in the outhouse,” users wrote.

“We should show our unity and cold blood – Hollande. We will waste them in the outhouse – Putin. We want action, Mr. Hollande,” wrote user @TacusselVictor.

“I prefer Putin’s approach...”, “I prefer Putin’s version” wrote other users, @Frastyy420 even called Putin “a badass.”

In the 1990s and 2000s Russia was struck by a string of terror attacks, including transport bombings and explosions in apartment blocks, several deadly terror attacks on the Moscow metro and the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis that claimed the lives of more than 130 people.

During his second presidential term Putin also faced one of the greatest tragedies modern Russia had to go through: the Beslan school siege. In September 2004, over 1,000 people were held hostage in North Ossetia on the first day of the school year – 800 of them children. Almost 200 children died in the three-day siege.