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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Warns Russia Has Enemies

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that there were people in the world who wanted to split up Russia and, in a thinly veiled reference to the United States, were attempting "to rule over mankind."

Speaking to pro-Kremlin youth groups on People's Unity Day, Putin said Russia would continue to play an active role in world affairs and defend smaller nations but that some forces outside the country sought to plunder its wealth.

"There are people who have just lost it," Putin told members of the Nashi and Young Guard groups, as well as military cadets, apologizing for using the slang phrase. "Some say we have too many natural riches, that they have to be split up."

"They, themselves, have no wish to share their own, by the way," Putin added.

The reference to natural riches echoed comments Putin made in his annual call-in show in mid-October, when he labeled such notions "political erotica."

In one of the questions posed to Putin, an engineer from Siberia attributed the comment to former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

On Sunday, Putin reiterated criticism of the United States, which he has regularly accused of trying to build a unipolar world.

"That has yet to happen in the planet's history and I don't think it ever will," Putin said in remarks posted on the Kremlin web site.

He said, conversely, that the majority of the world thought positively of Russia and that "some even do so with hope, as they see Russia as a defender of their interests."

Putin's comments came after youth groups laid wreathes at the monument on Red Square to Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who helped defeat Polish and Lithuanian forces in Moscow in 1612. People's Unity Day was instituted as a national holiday to mark the event in 2005, replacing the Nov. 7 holiday commemorating the Bolshevik Revolution.

The youth groups and cadets then attended a Kremlin reception. At the reception, Putin praised a new fund he established in June to promote Russian language and culture abroad and Russians involved in doing such work.

"It is comforting that they have new opportunities to expand and reinforce ties with Russia.

Putin also awarded the Pushkin Medal for promoting Russian culture abroad to a number of foreign academics. Past recipients of the award include Thomas Graham, a former senior official in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.