On the eve of presidential elections, Vladimir Putin is claiming that his opponents might use murder to tarnish the vote.
They are looking for the so-called sacrificial victim from among prominent persons,” Putin warned on Wednesday.
“They may – I beg your pardon – waste someone and then blame the authorities. For these people, anything goes. This is no exaggeration.”
Russian presidential elections will be held on Sunday, and although Putin, currently Russia's Prime Minister, is expected to easily win his third term in the government's top job, he faces a growing opposition movement that may try to discredit the electoral process.
After his opponents claimed that a foiled assassination attempt was really a plot to drum up support and fear among voters, Putin said on Wednesday that anti-Kremlin activists might be planning their own campaign of dirty tricks.
They are preparing to use some mechanisms that would confirm that the elections were falsified. They will stuff ballots themselves, monitor this themselves, and then present this themselves,” he said, according to RT.
“I know this method and these tactics very well. Attempts to implement them have been proceeding for 10 years now, and first of all abroad.”
Putin was himself accused of rigging votes after the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections. The allegations, which were seemingly supported by videos of election officials stuffing ballot boxes, prompted thousands of people to protests against the Prime Minister in Moscow.
Russians are increasingly dissatisfied with the country's most powerful man. However, despite the slow loss of support, Putin is still an overtly popular figure and could win up to 60 percent of the vote on Sunday, according to national polls.
At a meeting with supporters on Wednesday, Putin condemned the possible election-night actions of these activists.
The main rule is to respect the view of the minority, but to submit to the opinion of the majority, Putin said.
People who talk about the need to strengthen democratic institutions must themselves obey these rules. The minority must not impose its will on the majority.
Some members of minority political parties have already condemned the election, because representatives from their parties were barred from entering, The Associated Press reported.