Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Gets Heated in Nashi Talk

President Vladimir Putin lashed out at Britain during a meeting with members of pro-Kremlin youth groups Tuesday, calling its demands that Russia extradite murder suspect Andrei Lugovoi a relic of "colonial thinking."

At a meeting with activists at his Zavidovo residence, the casually dressed Putin spoke in a reserved tone about the extradition demand of Russia's "British partners" before shifting suddenly to an aggressive tone.

"They are making proposals to change our Constitution, which are insulting for our nation and our people," Putin said in remarks broadcast on Channel One television. "It's their brains, not our Constitution, which need to be changed. What they are offering to us is a clear remnant of colonial thinking."

The activists, from youth groups Nashi, Young Guard and Young Russia, among others, applauded dutifully.

Russia has insisted that extraditing Lugovoi, accused in Britain of murdering Alexander Litvinenko in London last year, would be a violation of the Constitution.

The meeting with around two-dozen activists was the latest in series of perks for pro-Kremlin youth groups.

The meeting with Putin came on the heels of a Sunday visit by First Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Ivanov to Nashi's summer camp at Lake Seliger, 350 kilometers northwest of Moscow, where some 10,000 activists have gathered.

Analysts called Putin's meeting a rallying cry ahead of the election season.

"The threat of lawless revolutions such as those in Georgia and Ukraine hangs over Russia," Kremlin-connected political analyst Sergei Markov said. "People have to be on the side of good, not evil."

Critics say the Kremlin unleashes the youth groups on dissenters to apply the kind of street-level pressure that would be considered unacceptable coming from officials.

"These young people are trained to harass anyone with a different point of view," said Masha Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center.