Russia's president has reportedly said the economic crisis is increasing political tension and xenophobia.
Dmitry Medvedev's reported comments Wednesday suggest the Kremlin is concerned that economic troubles could threaten its grip on power in addition to fueling hate crimes and extremism.
The ITAR-Tass, RIA-Novosti and Interfax news agencies cite Medvedev as saying the crisis creates conditions for increased crime, aggravates political controversy and provokes xenophobia. He is quoted as telling officials and religious leaders that these problems are getting worse.
There have been signs of tension within the ruling elite and growing doubts about the effectiveness of Russia's leaders.