Russians who demand an end to subsidies to Russia’s North Caucasus regions are either not very smart or provocateurs, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
“Our society has different opinions on the same things. One is ‘Stop feeding the Caucasus.’ What comes out of that? The consequences of these slogans are easy to predict,” Medvedev said at a meeting with students at Moscow State University.
“People who demand it are either not very smart – there are some – or provocateurs,” the president said.
He added that at the end of the 1980s virtually identical demands led to the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia faced a difficult period in its history in the 1990s but in fact Russia continues to support former Soviet republics.
“An attempt to divide everything is short-sighted,” Medvedev added.
He also denied that the North Caucasus receives a significant portion of subsidies to the various regions. Only 11 Russian regions are “donor regions.”
“The other 72 regions get subsidies, they are fed from the budget,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev added that the problem was not money but “the lack of the culture and habit of living together, an unwillingness to hear each other, the absence of decent living conditions.”