Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to prevent the emergence of any mass demonstrations in Moscow like the “yellow vest” anti-government protests that erupted in France late last year.
“We would not want such a thing to happen in the Russian capital,” Putin said after talks with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the Bregancon fortress on France’s Mediterranean coast.
“We will do everything to make sure the situation remains within the realms of the law,” he added.
Since mid-July, Moscow has seen a wave of rallies drawing tens of thousands onto the streets after opposition figures were barred from standing in September’s local elections.
But the protests have since morphed into an expression of wider anger over declining living standards and a stalling economy.
Russian police cracked down on the weekly demonstrations, arresting some 3,000 people including prominent members of the opposition, including top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The crackdown has drawn notably sharp criticism from France, despite its own struggles with the yellow vest movement which has seen the authorities come under fire for their heavy-handed response.
Plans to increase diesel prices and raise taxes on pensions initially sparked the protests in France in November but they soon ballooned into a full-scale anti-government rebellion.