Russian President Vladimir Putin appreciates the standpoint of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the development of Russian-Belarussian cooperation, but has his own view on this and other issues and takes decisions independently. Such was the statement, which Vladimir Putin gave at the press-conference for Russian and foreign correspondents in Kremlin on Monday.
Commenting on Yeltsin's recent visit to Belarus, Putin stressed that Boris Yeltsin is "a free person, and can freely travel, meet people and express his views".
At the same time Putin stated that he will "continue doing whatever in his opinion complies with Russian interests - both now and in future".
Answering the questions, Putin said that he and Boris Yeltsin have the same view on the problem of freedom of speech.
"The most important task is to establish economical independence for this area of business" believes the Russian President.
"Only when the press is self-sufficient, independent from the group interests of other businesses than mass media, will it be the time of true freedom of press," the Putin was quoted as saying in conclusion.