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MOSCOW, September 7 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his first interview to the television channel Russia Today after the presidential inauguration. On Thursday, the text of the interview was posted on the website of the Kremlin. The Russian president dwelt not only on international issues, but also the most topical issues of domestic political life. The experts also noticed some internal contradictions in Putin’s words.
It is clear that the genre of the presidential interview does not envisage any surprises in the questions to the leader of the country, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily noted. The selection of issues by the president is more important in this interview. Therefore, Putin’s responses look more like a speech, moreover, addressed to his own electorate, rather than foreign observers. The keynote of this long speech sprinkled with the remarks of the correspondent is toughness, toughness and toughness once again. His speech is absolutely unambiguous.
The president recalled that the capital punishment is in effect in the United States, where the Magnitsky list was made up. Meanwhile, Russia has a moratorium on death penalty. “Women are executed” in the US. Meanwhile, the death penalty moratorium situation does not sound quite bad in Russia with this fact in view. “Probably, we could have made up several lists, including those, who execute capital punishment verdicts in other countries. But we do not do it,” Putin noted.
Minor debates over the guilty verdict to the punk group Pussy Riot were voiced in the same vein as the assessment to the Magnitsky criminal case. The pressing turn-of-the-screw problem highlighted Putin’s ‘improvisation’. The correspondent named the accusations against the Russian authorities, “A tougher law on libel was enacted with higher fines for the dissemination of false information, the law on censorship in the Internet for the protection of children. All this was done with your support....” The president slightly pulled the carpet away from under feet of the correspondent, “I would like to ask if other countries lack the laws, which ban children’s pornography, particularly in the Internet?” These laws are certainly in effect, the correspondent acknowledged. “We lacked them until recently. If we begin to protect our society, our children from these encroachments...” the Russian president replied to him in a surprising mild manner. “Probably the moment was chosen so? Just when you were elected as president again, and it looks like a quite tough step on your part...” the journalist replied.
The response followed exactly in line with Putin’s logics, “I am just trying not to think about it, I am trying to do what I consider right and needed for our country, for our citizens and for our people. I will continue to do so in the future.” This response left no doubts about Putin’s attitude to criticism against him, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily believes.
Member of the scientific board of the Moscow Carnegie Centre Nikolai Petrov, who is quoted by the newspaper, believes that Putin’s statements about the Russian domestic policy have some internal contradiction, “The president states that the United States has capital punishment, but avoids a response to the question about the essence of the Magnitsky criminal case and corruption behind this criminal case. He said that there is no political underpinning in this criminal case, but threatens “to take adequate measures” against foreign officials. It seems to me that it is a quite weak position towards the Russian society. For people the violations of human rights are less important, because it is one of actually very many cases in line. The issue that this criminal case has some connections with corruption in the state authorities is more important. Therefore, Putin’s high pathos at the end of the interview, where he was speaking about corruption, overweighed his attitude to the Magnitsky criminal case,” he said.
The RBC daily reported that Russia Today’s anchorman Kevin Owen asked the Russian president one of the most important questions today about Russian-US relations, particularly whether Moscow will be able to work with a Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, if the latter wins at the presidential elections on November 6? “Yes, we can. We will work with a president, whom the US nation will elect,” Vladimir Putin said in a calm manner to the journalist.
The president also touched on the problem of the settlement of the conflict in Syria. The Russian president gave Afghanistan as an example to illustrate his thought, “The US brought the troops to Afghanistan with its allies. Now all are thinking how to escape with a whole skin from there.”
The Russian president has taken a hands-off approach to the high-profile criminal case against the punk group Pussy Riot, members of which were sentenced to two years in prison for the so-called punk prayer at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral last month. “I know what is happening with Pussy Riot, but I do not interfere in it at all,” Putin stated.
The newspaper recalled that in early August the Russian president stated during his visit to London that he condemns the punk prayer, but at the same time he find a lenient verdict for the feminists permissible. “I do not believe that they should be punished so severely,” the Russian leader said then.
In reply to a question of the Russia Today journalist about a bill, which protects the public servants to have real estate and accounts abroad, Vladimir Putin stated that he does not see “nothing extraordinary” for Russian realities in the offered restrictions, the Kommersant daily reported. “It will also contribute to the struggle against corruption,” the president remarked. In his interpretation, if “a person wants to serve to his homeland,” he should open his account in Russia, rather than Austria or the US.” “Then you can voice all your interests here, particularly material interests and you should not hide them in a cold storage,” Putin underlined.