Russian PM defends tough laws, stands behind Putin

MOSCOW - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday defended new laws which opponents say will be used to stifle dissent, underlining his allegiance to President Vladimir Putin after talk of a rift.
In a live interview with five Russian television stations, Medvedev appeared determined to show he is in step with Putin and to silence rumors that the more hawkish president could sack him as premier.
Asked about new legislation which forces lobby groups funded from abroad to register as "foreign agents", Medvedev dismissed concerns that the term was deliberately pejorative because it evokes the Cold war.
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