“We’ve lived together for centuries. And we will live together in the future. And to those who want or are trying to divide us, I can say just one thing — keep waiting,” Putin wrote in an article published on Monday.
Putin added that such attempts would have the potential to bring the destruction of the Russian folk – and the Russian state
“If a multi-ethnic society is hit by bacteria of nationalism it loses its strength and durability. Connivance with attempts to foment ethnic strife and hatred towards people of another culture or faith can trigger far-reaching consequences,” he added.
Putin comments comes after Nationalist groups, who have joined the growing protest movements across Russia, called for a withdrawal from the North Caucasus where Russia has fought two wars against Chechen separatists in the past 20 years.
Tens of thousands took to the streets of Russia in a wave of protest unseen during the prime minister’s 12-year rule to denounce the allegedly fraudulent parliamentary elections held on December 4.
“Attempts to advocate the construction of a Russian ‘national,’ monotonic state contradicts our thousands of years old history,” Putin added.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is reportedly due to become prime minister under a prospective Putin presidency in March 2012 — a job swap bitterly criticized by the opposition.
Putin’s presidency ended in 2008 after two consecutive terms because the Russian constitution prevented him from running a third term, however he will be free to run again on March 4 presidential election.