Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered police on Friday to stamp out any social unrest or crime arising from the global financial crisis.
“We have a stable state … We do not need a return to the 1990s when everything was boiling and seething,” Medvedev told a meeting of senior officials.
“The law enforcement agencies should keep track of what is happening,” he said.
“And if someone tries to exploit the consequences of the financial crisis … they should intervene, bring criminal charges. Otherwise, there won’t be order.”
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The longest economic boom in a generation has helped the Kremlin maintain political stability but some analysts say the financial crisis could give rise to a wave of social unrest.
Russia’s benchmark RTS <.IRTS> stock exchange has fallen about 70 percent since May, making it one of the worst performers among emerging economies.
High oil prices which fueled Russia’s economic boom have fallen from a peak of over $140 in July to just over $60 now.
The impact on ordinary people so far has been limited, partly because share ownership is not widespread and few people have private pensions. But firms in some sectors have started laying off staff.
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told Medvedev at the meeting, in Russia’s second city of St Petersburg, that higher unemployment could lead to a rise in crime.