|Putin told United Russia delegates on Sunday that foreign NGOs were trying to influence the course of the vote [EPA]
Vladimir Putin has accepted his ruling party's nomination to return to Russia's presidency, while accusing foreigners of funding his political opponents.
Putin, president from 2000-2008 and now prime minister, is expected to easily recapture the presidency in an election in March. But opinion polls indicate a parliamentary election in a week could loosen his United Russia party's domination of Russian politics.
The timing of Sunday's announcement of his nomination for the presidency - which he said would seek in September - appeared aimed at giving United Russia a boost in the December 4 parliamentary vote amid flagging support.
"Of course, I accept the proposal with gratitude," Putin said confidently, accepting the nomination before a crowd of 10,000 supporters, chanting his name.
Putin said that "representatives of some foreign countries are gathering those they are paying money to, so-called grant recipients, to instruct them and assign work in order to influence the election campaign themselves".
Putin said that foreign countries were paying non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Russia "in order to themselves influence the course of the election campaign in our country".
He dismissed the alleged Western attempts to influence Russia's election process as "useless work. Wasted money".
"It would be better if they used this money to pay off their national debt and stop spending money on ineffective and expensive foreign policies," Putin said