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Putin Calls for Suppressing Extremism

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says it is necessary to "suppress" extremism following ethnic clashes in Moscow.

Mr. Putin spoke Thursday in his annual televised question-and-answer session.

His comments come after at least 5,000 mostly young men on Saturday attacked both police and people from Central Asia and the Caucasus region to protest the death of a fan of Moscow's Spartak football club.

Mr. Putin also discussed jailed Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, saying "a thief must be in jail." Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon, is serving an eight-year prison sentence for tax fraud, and faces additional charges of embezzlement and money laundering.

Mr. Putin served two terms as president before becoming prime minister in 2008.

The prime minister also said Thursday that Russia's economy will grow by about 4 percent this year, and will return to its pre-crisis level by the first half of 2012.

Supporters of Khodorkovsky say the charges against him are a retaliation by the Kremlin for Khodorkovsky's support of opposition politicians in the past.