Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday pledged to punish “speculators” attacking the ruble with “harsh” measures in a defiant speech that reached into Russian history to defend his annexation of Crimea and compared his international opponents with Adolf Hitler.
Putin in his annual address to parliament vowed to repel any efforts to push Russia out of the Crimean Peninsula in the same way that his country fought off the Nazis in World War II, which is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War and is an emotional rallying-point for the population.
“Hitler, with his humanity-hating ideas, was going to destroy Russia and throw us back behind the Urals,” Putin said in Moscow.
“Everyone should remember how this ended. Next year we will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our army overcame the enemy, freed Europe,” he said.
Putin, who did not address falling oil and gas prices, also announced plans for an amnesty on capital returning to Russia and said he would work to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy as he works to reassure a nation threatened by a spiraling economic crisis.
The ruble is near a record low, having lost a third of its value since Putin started his incursion into the Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March, the most among 24 developing countries Bloomberg tracks.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
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