Putin says 'battle on' for Russia

Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Thursday issued a battle-cry to tens of thousands of supporters packing Moscow’s largest sports stadium as he predicted victory in next month’s presidential polls.

Putin declared in a fiery and nationalist-tinged speech to 130,000 people in the Luzhniki stadium that Russians had victory written into their “genetic code” and would not allow foreigners to meddle in their country’s affairs.

Playing on themes of patriotism on a national holiday to mark the Defenders of the Fatherland public holiday, Putin invoked historical events like the 1812 Battle of Borodino that Russia fought against Napoleon.

“The battle for Russia continues, the victory will be ours,” Putin said, speaking from a giant blue stage in a stadium that usually hosts the biggest football matches and rock concerts.

“We will not allow anyone to impose their will on us. We have our own will and this has always helped us be victorious,” said Putin. “We are a victorious nation. This is in our genes. This is in our genetic code.”

The event is a riposte to the mass rallies staged by the opposition since December 4 parliamentary elections which have turned into a protest movement against his bid for a third Kremlin term in March 4 presidential polls.

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