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8 Jul, 2021 13:00

Western powers want to weaken Russia & could try to 'undermine' upcoming parliamentary elections, says Foreign Minister Lavrov

Western powers want to weaken Russia & could try to 'undermine' upcoming parliamentary elections, says Foreign Minister Lavrov

Russia’s most senior diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, has said that Moscow sees attempts to interfere in its domestic policy from abroad almost every day, warning that things could get worse as the country heads to the polls this year.

Speaking as part of a lecture on Thursday at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, the foreign minister claimed that “our Western colleagues do not hide the fact that many of them would prefer to deal with a weak Russia, devoid of landmarks, a Russia ready for any concessions. We see efforts  – nearly daily – to influence our domestic and foreign policy.”

According to him, there are a wide “range of tools” used to exert pressure from overseas. “There are military provocations,” Lavrov said, “as was recently the case around Crimea with NATO ships, and they are sent here to the South China Sea too, so the scope of their ambitions knows no boundaries.” In addition, he argued that economic sanctions, large-scale information attacks and even the kidnapping of citizens are being used against Russia.

Also on rt.com Isolated clashes between police & protesters across Russia as pro-Navalny rallies attract smaller crowds than organizers hoped for

The state of affairs, the foreign minister warned, could become even more tense as the country prepares to vote in nationwide parliamentary elections in September this year. “We can assume that on the eve of the elections to the State Duma there will be new attempts to undermine [and] destabilize the situation, and provoke protests – preferably violent – as the West likes to do,” he claimed.

“I want to say with full responsibility that the plans being hatched by the West will not work, the President [of Russia Vladimir Putin] has repeatedly said this,” Lavrov blasted.

READ MORE: Navalny allies decide to pause protests in Russia after momentum stalls amid smaller turnout last weekend & police crackdown

Russia faced a series of protests held in cities across the country over two successive weekends in January after the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Protesters clashed with police and several thousand people were detained at the marches, with unauthorized public events banned due to Covid-19 laws. However, subsequent events attracted smaller crowds and organizers dropped their plans for further rallies. Instead, they said, further actions should be halted until the summer, ahead of the national elections.

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