Moscow, Dec 13 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian society lacks "spiritual braces" to hold it together, and should look to education and "traditional values" to change that, according to President Vladimir Putin.
"It pains me to speak of this but Russian society today lacks spiritual braces - kindness, sympathy, compassion toward one another, support and mutual assistance, a deficit of which has always, throughout history, made us stronger," he said during his state-of-the-nation address in Moscow Wednesday.
While government interference in people's convictions and views smacks of "totalitarianism" and is "absolutely unacceptable", Putin said, the state should focus on strengthening society's "spiritual-moral foundation" through education and youth policy.
He instructed the government to prepare a supplementary educational program focusing on "vospitanie" - a Russian cultural concept that refers to preparing young people for adulthood, usually through moral upbringing and conferring rules of etiquette, values and traditions.
Putin also said in terms of impact on young people, schools are losing to the internet and electronic media, and should restore their "unconditional value".
The president also praised grassroots charity activism, which is on the rise in the country, and promised a separate meeting with their volunteers in the unspecified near future.