MOSCOW, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Russia may face attempts from other powers to slow down the integration between former Soviet republics, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Federal Security Service Board, Putin ordered the FSB to work closely with Belorussian and Kazakh colleagues to protect the integration process between the two countries.
"We may face, and we are facing, efforts to break the integration. Various instruments could be used for that, including the tools of the so-called soft power," he said.
Russia and its partners' sovereign right to build and develop integration project must be protected, Putin said.
He recalled the "emotional rhetoric" of some politicians about "irritated pronouncements" concerning the integration process in the post-Soviet space, adding that the integration cannot be stopped by any peremptory statements.
Putin once defended Russia's integration with the Commonwealth of Independent States, calling it a natural process.
He dismissed as "rubbish" fears among some Western leaders that Moscow was seeking to restore the Soviet Union through economic integration with former Soviet republics.