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MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) — Opposition has the right to express its point of view within the framework of law, Russian President Vladimir Putin believes.
“Yes, there are people who don’t agree with something, they have the right to express their point of view this way or another, but of course one must act within the framework of law,” the president said in a film broadcast by NTV television on Sunday, when the president marks his 60th birthday.
“Since the very first steps, almost everything I have been doing has been criticized,” Putin said, recalling developments in the North Caucasus, where “a war was in progress in essence”. “But I was absolutely confident that there was no other way, there were no other chances to preserve integrity of the Russian state,” the president stressed.
“The point is that there are quite a lot of forces that don’t want the strengthening of Russia, there are some people in the country who either don’t understand certain things or don’t want to understand, think that things could have been done differently and it would have been better,” Putin said, marking that there is always the point of view differing from that of the president.
According to him there is nothing surprising and unexpected in that. “But the main thing is that the overwhelming majority of the people support me,” he stressed. In reply to the query whether he follows his ratings, Putin admitted that he does pay attention to that. “But the main thing – and I find it difficult to express – is some inner chemistry, the feeling of rightness and correctness of what I am doing, sensing people’s reaction,” he stressed.
Speaking about opposition leaders, Putin noted that “if a person claims leadership in something, he must do something, demonstrate that he is worth something”. “Criticizing things even if rightly is one thing, but offering some constructive agenda is another thing,” he said. “I don’t reject anybody and I don’t want to play down the merits of any of the possible opposition leaders,” he explained.
However, each of them must do something apart from raising a clamor and doing things for effect, must prove “that he is capable of something, of some positive things and only after that this person may claim the leadership,” he is confident.
The president expressed hope that the opposition will get rid of rubbish naturally, and “outstanding indeed, interesting and considerate people will appear, who will be able to assume responsibility for some sectors, some spheres of the social life, economy, for the whole country”.
The president noted that his attitude to all representatives of the opposition was calm “despite their sometimes a bit boorish behavior,” and hoped that “serious people will emerge at last”.