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Putin turns down accusations of reviving ‘fifth column’ term

December 18, 2014, 14:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“All my actions aim to consolidate our society and not to divide it,” President Vladimir Putin said
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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© Ilya Pitalev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he did not accept the charges with breathing a new life into the ‘fifth column’ term.

A question on whether or not he felt personal responsibility of some kind for reviving the term was asked at a major annual news conference.

“I don’t feel any responsibility for this,” Putin said. “All my actions aim to consolidate our society and not to divide it,” Putin said.

He said there was an opinion that he should be more accurate in his public statements, adding: “I’ll think over it but it’s impossible anyway to coat everything with polish endlessly. Sometime you have to call a spade a spade.”

“It’s a highly complicated problem,” Putin admitted. The border line between the opposition and the fifth column is very thin and it’s really very difficult to give a definition to it.

As a historical instance, he cited a verse by the great 19th century Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov, the first stanza of which begins with the line ‘Farewell, o you unwashed old Russia, The land of lords, the land of serfs”.

“Lermontov certainly was an oppositionist but I think he was a patriot all the same,” Putin said. “This borderline is very thin. Recall that Lermontov was an officer and he exposed himself to enemy gunshots in the name of the country’s interests.”

As another instance, Putin referred to the latest movie by the Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov, ‘The Sunstroke’, which depicts the tragedy of Czarist Russian officers trapped in Crimea in 1920 when the peninsula fell into the hands of Bolshevist revolutionaries led by the Hungarian Bela Kun and the Russian female commissar Rozalia Zemlyachka.

In the final scene of the film, a barge crowded with officers, whom Zemlyachka promised to take out of Crimea, is sunken purportedly and all of them die.

“Officers of precisely this breed first pushed the situation towards a revolution and then were drowned themselves,” Putin said. “I don’t know whether they would have done the same things had they had an opportunity to return to the starting point.”.

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