Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a sense of patriotism should be fostered in Russia in order to preserve its national identity.
He said that without patriotism, "the country cannot exist; it will just disintegrate from within, the way a sugar cube dissolves in water."
Addressing law students at a meeting in Moscow on December 3, Putin also said Russian society needs its heroes as examples to follow and emulate, without idolizing anyone.
Since returning to the presidency last year, Putin has frequently appealed to patriotism and traditional values as a way to boost his popularity ratings.
Last month, he sent a bill to parliament stipulating the wider use of state symbols such as the flag and national anthem as a way to foster patriotism among young people.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax