Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave an interview to French newspaper Figaro, in which he set out his point of view on most actual issues of present-day international and home politics. Will Russia withdraw its troops from Georgia? Is friendship between Moscow and Washington possible? Will Russia cope with the economic crisis?
The first question, which a French journalist asked Putin, touched upon the state of affairs in Georgia. The journalist wondered if Russia could decide not to pull out its troops from the country under the influence of certain circumstances.
“Russia always abides by its obligations,” Putin firmly said. The premier continued with an explanation of what happened in South Ossetia and why the Russian troops were deployed there.
“Which goals was Russia pursuing keeping its troops in the security zone? There was only one goal: to ensure security, not to let Georgia attack South Ossetia or Abkhazia again,” Putin said.
Putin assured the interviewer that Russia would keep its word, albeit it could be possible only if other sides of the talks abide by their obligations too.
“We hope that the agreements achieved with the European countries will be executed by our European partners too. If it happens, Russia will obviously withdraw its peacemakers,” he said.
Putin also touched upon the question of the international recognition of South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence.
“As for the recognition of the two republics, we did not ask anyone for anything and we do not intend to. From the point of view of the international law, it is enough for only one country to recognize the independence of a nation to let the new subject of the international law appear,” the prime minister said.
Speaking about the worsening of relations with the USA, Putin recollected the words of the US Secretary of State under President Lincoln. The official said that the United States preferred the relations with Russia to the relations with all other European countries just because of the fact that Russia always wished well to the USA.
“Our relations were different in different historical periods. However, when global crises occurred in the world, Russia and the USA were always together. We in Russia never forget about that. We would like our American partners to remember that too,” Putin said.
The prime minister added that he would like to see an improvement of relations with the USA, albeit at Washington’s initiative.
“They spoiled them, so let them improve the ties,” he said.
The discussion about the work of Western media outlets during the war in South Ossetia was especially vivid.
“Everyone kept silence for two days, as if under command, when it was not clear how the events were going to end. Afterwards, as if under command - I think there was a command there indeed – they all started to accuse Russia of the inadequate use of force. This is not about the European press alone, it is about the American press too,” Putin said and referred to the incident on Fox News.
“You gave an example of Fox News. But there were other channels that were brining a different point of view to the general public,” the interviewer disagreed.
Putin disagreed too: “No, there were not. They all were silent during the first day of the war, as if nothing was happening. And I can tell you why. They were awaiting the results of that aggression thinking that it might end successfully for those adventurers who started it. And you want to persuade me that it was an objective coverage of events? Don’t,” he said .
Putin also spoke about the economic crisis on Russian stock markets.
“It is connected with the problems of the Western economy, not the Russian economy. It is connected with the insufficient liquidity of the Western financial market. The crisis has affected Russia, of course, but we did not have the mortgage crisis. We have avoided it, although it occurred in foreign countries. We do not have this crisis and I hope we will not have it in the future either. My certainty is based on the indexes of the Russian economic development, common sense and the economic policy,” Putin stated.