Russian President Vladimir Putin told a crowd of cheering supporters that opponents of his United Russia party are in the pay of foreign governments bent on weakening the nation, reports the Times of London. He ripped opponents as "jackals" who "slink through foreign embassies" and learn from "Western experts." United Russia is expected to win nearly two-thirds of the vote in next month's parliamentary elections.
Years of stability and economic growth in Russia have brought Putin real popularity but opposition parties complain that the pro-Putin coverage on state TV makes it hard for them to win support. Putin has said he'll serve only two terms as president, but the Kremlin is widely thought to be seeking a way to bring him back for a third.