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MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he likes America’s openness and refused to assess US President Barack Obama.
In an interview with US TV anchorman Charles Rose for the CBS and PBS channels shortly before taking part in the UN General Assembly session, Putin said he takes interest in the United States.
Asked what he liked about the United States, Putin said: "America's creative approach to solving the problems the country is faced with, its openness and open-mindedness which make it possible to unleash the potential of the people. I believe that largely due to these qualities America has made such tremendous strides in its development."
"I do not think I am entitled to assess the President of the United States. This is up to the American people," the Russian leader also said.
"In any country, including the United States, may be in the United States even more often than in any other country, foreign policy is used for internal political struggle. An election campaign will soon start in the United States. They always play either Russian card or any other," he said.
Asked whether Obama listens to Putin, the Russian president said: "I think that we all listen to each other when it does not contradict our own ideas of what we should and should not do."
Asked whether he is watching the Republican political debates, Putin said: "If you ask me whether I watch them on a daily basis - I would say no."
Putin was bewildered when he heard from Rose that a Republican presidential hopeful, Marco Rubio, said the Russian leader was a gangster.
"How can I be a gangster, if I worked for the KGB? It is absolutely ridiculous," he said.
Putin said he does not think people in Russia are fearful of him.
"I do not think so. I assume most people trust me, if they vote for me in elections. And it is the most important thing. It places great responsibility on me, immense responsibility. I am grateful to the people for that trust, but I surely feel great responsibility for what I do and for the result of my work," he said.
When Rose told him some people call Putin a tsar, the Russian leader said: "So what? You know, they call me different things."
Putin said the title does not fit him. "No, it doesn’t. It is not what your supporters, friends or your political adversaries call you that matters. What is important is what you think you must do in the interests of the country, which put you in such position, such post as the Head of the Russian State," he said.