Moscow: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday warned the West against interfering in Russia's upcoming elections after he formally agreed to run for a historic third term as President.
Speaking ahead of key December 4 parliamentary polls, which will be followed by a presidential ballot in March, the Russian strongman said any Western attempts to stir discontent and influence the election results would be futile.
Putin told a glitzy congress of his ruling United Russia party that foreign capitals were paying NGOs in Russia "in order to eventually influence the course of the election campaign in our country."
"Useless work, wasted money," he said in a giant hall filled to bursting. "Firstly, Judas is not the most respected biblical figure among our people," he said, comparing any such behaviour to a betrayal.
In a clear message to debt-ridden Western powers he added: "And second, it would be better if they used this money to pay off their national debt and stop conducting an ineffective and costly foreign policy."
Putin delivered his stinging warning after formally agreeing to stand as the ruling party candidate in next year's presidential election which he is certain to win and that will fix Russia's future for years to come.
His party approved his nomination by a unanimous 614-0 vote in a pomp-filled ceremony that was beamed live across the nation on state television.