A man holds a sign with a picture of Russian presidential candidate Vladimr Putin during a rally of his supporters in Saint Petersburg on February 18, 2012
Source: Press TV
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has pledged not to allow any country to interfere in Russia's internal affairs before a mass rally in support of his Kremlin bid.
"We will not allow anyone interfere in our internal affairs," Putin said in an address to more than 100,000 people packed into a Moscow stadium and its grounds on Thursday.
Addressing his supporters ahead of March 4 presidential elections, the Russian prime minister also vowed to win the ongoing battle for Kremlin’s top job.
“The battle for Russia continues, victory will be ours,” said Putin, who is widely expected to win the presidential race.
Russians are taking to the streets with increasing regularity ahead of the March 4 election as the opposition and pro-Putin camp seek to outdo each other with competing rallies.
The opposition, however, has accused authorities of using state resources to encourage people to show up at Putin rallies.
The opposition has also planned a rival rally set on February 26 in the Capital Moscow, hoping for a turnout of tens of thousands to form a human chain around the capital's inner ring road.
Polls suggest that Putin will easily win the presidential elections as his four registered opponents have failed in staging a significant challenge.
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 banned him from running for a third consecutive term.