Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said the coming years would be crucial in deciding the fate of Russia and other countries.

“I want everybody to clearly understand: the coming years will be crucial and pivotal, not only for Russia, but also for the world, as it enters a period of radical change and maybe even upheavals,” Mr Putin said. “Global development is becoming increasingly uneven, creating the ground for new economic, geopolitical and ethnic conflicts.”

The Russian leader noted in the growing fight for natural and human resources, especially for human intellect, some nations will forge ahead, while others will be left behind and lose their independence.

In order to be among the winners Russia must reform its oil-dependent economy, strengthen military might and increase population, Mr Putin said in his first state-of-the nation address after reclaiming presidency in March’s election.

Mr Putin did not say anything about the new protest movement that staged thousands-strong demonstrations against his return to the Kremlin, but warned that Russia would reject standards of democracy “imposed on us from outside.” He warned the opposition against receiving foreign funding.

“Direct or indirect foreign interference in our political processes is inadmissible,” he said. “Those who receive money from abroad for their political activities and serve alien interests cannot engage in politics in Russia.”

At the same time Mr Putin offered a carrot to the opposition, promising to liberalise the political system and tackle corruption, which “is destroying the resources for national development.”

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