Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Western spies of plotting to undermine his leadership and destabilize Russia elections.

Putin made the allegations during a meeting with the senior officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) on Thursday.

During the meeting, Putin said Western spies are conspiring with public organizations to pursue their objective of disrupting his administration. Putin emphasized that Moscow will not ease its scrutiny of the activities of non-governmental organizations, which are receiving foreign funding.

“The attempts by Western security services to use public, non-governmental organizations and non-political groups for their benefit, mostly to discredit the authorities and destabilize the situation in Russia continue,” said Putin as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

Putin pointed out, “We always listen to constructive criticism of the authorities’ action or lack of action at any level and this dialogue is always useful and simply necessary. But it would be pointless to have debates with those who take orders from an outsider, in the interest of another country.”

Putin: Western Spies Plotted Against Russia Before Polls

Russia required non-government groups to register as foreign agents

Russia has a law that requires non-governmental organizations that are engaged in political activities to register with the Ministry of Justice as “foreign agents,” and to submit quarterly reports.

Putin signed the law after a mass protest against him in 2011 to 2012. Since then, he increased scrutiny on foreign-funded organizations

Opposition group are criticizing Putin’s human rights records and position in Ukraine. According to them, Putin is trying to silence his critics.

Boris Nemtsov, a former Deputy Prime Minister and a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was killed in Moscow last Month after a radio interview.  He criticized Putin’s policy as “aggressive and mad.”

“The most important reason for the crisis is that Putin began this policy of war with Ukraine, which is unbelievably aggressive, fatal for our country, and for many people,” said Nemtsov during the radio interview. Prior to his murder, Nemtsov said, “I’m afraid Putin will kill me.”

According to Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, “The president said this brutal killing bears all the hallmarks of a contract murder and is of an exclusively provocative character.”

Western spies a series of actions during Russia’s elections

Putin claimed that Western spies are planning a series of actions against Russia during its election period between 2016 and 2018.  He is referring to the parliamentary election next year and the presidential elections.

According to him, the West is seeking to contain Russia using different measures ranging from “political isolation and economic pressure to a large-scale information war” and espionage. Putin emphasized that the efforts of the Western nations to frighten Russia will never prevail.

Putin praised the FSC for their work in preventing more than 300 foreign agents and spies. He also encouraged them to implement stricter measures to protect government secrets particularly about the military, which is “especially important.”

Earlier this month, The FSB expelled Andrejs Dudarevs, a Latvian civilian aviation senior inspector, who was allegedly working as a “double agent” for Latvia and the United States.

He is also hoping that Russia’s overall situation will not remain the same, but will improve.  He said, “The situation will change for the better not because we will always be stepping back, bending, or talking baby talk with anyone. It will change for the better only if we get stronger,” Putin said.

Putin hints retiring as president of Russia

On Tuesday, Putin hinted that he might not seek re-election for the fourth term, and Russia will probably have a new president in 2019.

During a meeting, Putin told Simon Bartley, the head of the World Skills International (WSI), “The event we are talking about should take place in 2019. The presidential elections in Russia will be held in 2018. But I’m sure whoever is the head of the Russian state will be happy to take part in these events.”

Putin made a similar statement in the past regarding his intention to retire from politics. Last November, he emphasized that he will not remain as president of Russia forever. According to him, it would be detrimental for Russian if he will remain in the president’s chair forever.