President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that certain “ill-wishers” were stepping up efforts to destabilise Russia and urged members of his cabinet not to allow this “under any circumstances”.
He said Russia’s Security Council would discuss ensuring security in the context of what he said were “extremely important” issues concerning relations between the vast country’s 190 ethnic groups.
“Today, we will also be addressing these issues in terms of ensuring Russia’s security, in this case domestic political security,” he said.
Since sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has intensified its crackdown on dissenting voices and pushed the remainder of its beleaguered liberal opposition abroad.
Putin has repeatedly called on Russia to unite in the face of “existential threats” from the West, but has occasionally faced animosity from ethnic groups who feel particularly targeted by Moscow’s mobilisation drive.
In March, Moscow outlawed the Free Nations of Post-Russia Forum, an organisation founded by opposition activists that advocates independence for Russia’s multiple ethnic groups.