Vladimir Putin

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We will not allow the past to drag us down and stop us from moving ahead. We understand where we should move.
People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves.
It's extremely dangerous trying to resolve political problems outside the framework of the law.
If there is no money, what can you do? You can't go to a store, you can't buy anything, either a cannon, or a missile, or a medicine.
Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, as the saying goes. It knows who to eat and is not about to listen to anyone.
This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before.
There is no such thing as a former KGB man.
There is no one to talk to since Mahatma Gandhi died.
You must obey the law, always, not only when they grab you by your special place.
Why should we talk to people who are child-killers? No one has a moral right to tell us to talk to child-killers.
I have worked like a galley slave throughout these eight years, morning till night, and I have given all I could to this work. I am happy with the results.
I bow my head to the victims of terrorism.
I am highly impressed of the courage of New York residents. The great city and the great American nation are to win!
Putin is slouching; looking like that bored schoolboy in the back of the classroom. ~ Barack H. Obama II
I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. ~ George W. Bush

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин) (born 7 October 1952) is the President of Russia. He was elected to a six-year term in 2012, and previously served two four-year terms from 2000 to 2008.

Quotes[edit]

  • It's difficult to talk to people who whisper even at home, afraid of Americans eavesdropping on them. It’s not a figure of speech, not a joke, I'm serious.
  • I bow my head to the victims of terrorism. I am highly impressed of the courage of New York residents. The great city and the great American nation are to win!
  • For the preservation of the majestic Russia!
  • Russians have different far lofty ambitions; more of a spiritual kind. It's more about your relationship with God.
  • The U.S. is a very democratic state. There's no doubt about that. And it originally developed as a democratic state. When the first settlers set their foot on the continent, life forced them to forge a relationship and maintain a dialogue with each other to survive. That's why America was conceived as a fundamental democracy.
  • [I]t's not by chance that Russia and the U.S. forge an alliances in the most critical moments of modern history. That was the case in WWI and WWII even if there was fierce confrontation, our countries united against a common threat which means there's something that unites us. There must be some fundamental interest which bring us together. That's something we need to focus on first. We need to be aware of out difference but focus on a positive agenda that can improve our cooperation.
  • Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet.
  • If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional. We have very good specialists. I can recommend one for the operation. He'll make sure nothing grows back.
    • In response to a journalist who asked about Russian abuses in Chechnya during a press conference in November 2002 Newsbusters
  • Two weeks later they still have not been found. The question is, where is Saddam Hussein? Where are those weapons of mass destruction, if they were ever in existence? Is Saddam Hussein in a bunker sitting on cases containing weapons of mass destruction, preparing to blow the whole place up?
    • In a Press conference, regarding the weapon of mass destruction of Iraq. (May 1, 2003)[3]
  • Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace? You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers? No one has a moral right to tell us to talk to childkillers.
  • Yes, life in Chechnya so far looks more like a life after a natural disaster.
  • Russia has made its choice in favor of democracy. Fourteen years ago, independently, without any pressure from outside, it made that decision in the interests of itself and interests of its people — of its citizens. This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before. And the guarantee for this is the choice of the Russian people, themselves. No, guarantees from outside cannot be provided. This is impossible. It would be impossible for Russia today. Any kind of turn towards totalitarianism for Russia would be impossible, due to the condition of the Russian society.
  • I see that not everyone in the West has understood that the Soviet Union has disappeared from the political map of the world and that a new country has emerged with new humanist and ideological principles at the foundation of its existence.
  • People in Russia say that those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain. We do not regret this, we simply state the fact and know that we need to look ahead, not backwards. We will not allow the past to drag us down and stop us from moving ahead. We understand where we should move. But we must act based on a clear understanding of what happened..
    • Interview with German television channel ARD and ZDF, May 2005. [5]
  • We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly.
    • July 17, 2006, during the St. Petersburg Group of Eight summit Putin said in reply to George W. Bush, who said he hopes Russia will follow Iraq in turning to democracy
    • [6] [7]
  • I realise that 2008 will be an important test for Russia, and not an easy one. At the same time, the Constitution of the Russian Federation states that the President, the head of state, is elected for four years through direct secret ballot and cannot stay in office for more than two consecutive terms.
    I am not indifferent of course to the question of who will take in their hands the destiny of the country I have devoted my life to serving. But if each successive head of state were to change the Constitution to suit them, we would soon find ourselves without a state at all. I think that Russia's different political forces are sufficiently mature to realise their responsibility to the people of the Russian Federation. In any case, the person who receives the votes of the majority of Russian citizens will become the President of the country.
    • Answering the question of Dutch TV station "Nederland 1" and Dutch newspaper "NRC Handelsblad", "Can you imagine a situation in which you would decide to remain in office for a third term?", Putin said: [8]
  • I will recall once more Russia's most recent history.
    Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.
    Individual savings were depreciated, and old ideals destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or reformed carelessly. Terrorist intervention and the Khasavyurt capitulation that followed damaged the country's integrity. Oligarchic groups — possessing absolute control over information channels — served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty began to be seen as the norm. And all this was happening against the backdrop of a dramatic economic downturn, unstable finances, and the paralysis of the social sphere.
    Many thought or seemed to think at the time that our young democracy was not a continuation of Russian statehood, but its ultimate collapse, the prolonged agony of the Soviet system.
    But they were mistaken.
    That was precisely the period when the significant developments took place in Russia. Our society was generating not only the energy of self-preservation, but also the will for a new and free life.
  • But if the U.S. were to leave and abandon Iraq without establishing the grounds for a united and sovereign country, that would definitely be a second mistake.
    • After saying the US shouldn't have gone into Iraq in the first place
    • [11]
  • Russia does not want confrontation of any kind. And we will not take part in any kind of "holy alliance".
  • I stress that we unambiguously support strengthening the non-proliferation regime, without any exceptions, on the basis of international law.
  • A superpower is a cold war term. When people today say that Russia aspires to have this status, I interpret it in the following way: they want to undermine trust in Russia, to portray Russia as frightening, and create some kind of image of an enemy. … Russia is in favor of a multipolar world, a democratic world order, strengthening the system of international law, and for developing a legal system in which any small country, even a very small country, can feel itself secure, as if behind a stone wall. … Russia is ready to become part of this multipolar world and guarantee that the international community observes these rules. And not as a superpower with special rights, but rather as an equal among equals.
  • If there is no possibility or, to put it in plain terms, if there is no money... What can you do? You can't go to a store, you can't buy anything, either a cannon, or a missile, or a medicine. For this reason the economy is at the basis of everything. In the beginning it was Karl Marx and then Freud and others...
  • We still have a great amount of work to do in social development, including resolving one of the biggest challenges we face in this area, namely, reducing the gap between high-income earners and people, citizens of our country, who are still living on very modest means indeed. But we cannot, of course, adopt the solution used 80 years ago and simply confiscate the riches of some to redistribute among others. We will use completely different means to resolve this problem, namely, we will ensure good economic growth.
  • Their [U.S.] defense budget in absolute figures is almost 25 times bigger than Russia's. This is what in defense is referred to as "their home — their fortress". And good for them, I say. Well done!
    • On the United States
    • 2006 annual address to the Federal Assembly
  • But this means that we also need to build our home and make it strong and well protected. We see, after all, what is going on in the world. "The Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat, as the saying goes. It knows whom to eat and is not about to listen to anyone, it seems."
  • I think there are things of which I and the people who have worked with me can feel deservedly proud. They include restoring Russia's territorial integrity, strengthening the state, progress towards establishing a multiparty system, strengthening the parliamentary system, restoring the Armed Forces' potential and, of course, developing the economy. As you know, our economy has been growing by 6.9 percent a year on average over this time, and our GDP has increased by 7.7 percent over the first four months of this year alone.
    When I began my work in the year 2000, 30 percent of our population was living below the poverty line. There has been a two-fold drop in the number of people living below the poverty line since then and the figure today is around 15 percent. By 2009-2010, we will bring this figure down to 10 percent, and this will bring us in line with the European average.
    We had enormous debts, simply catastrophic for our economy, but we have paid them off in full now. Not only have we paid our debts, but we now have the best foreign debt to GDP ratio in Europe. Our gold and currency reserve figures are well known: in 2000, they stood at just $12 billion and we had a debt of more than 100 percent of GDP, but now we have the third-biggest gold and currency reserves in the world and they have increased by $90 billion over the first four months of this year alone.
    During the 1990s and even in 2000-2001, we had massive capital flight from Russia with $15 billion, $20 billion or $25 billion leaving the country every year. Last year we reversed this situation for the first time and had capital inflow of $41 billion. We have already had capital inflow of $40 billion over the first four months of this year. Russia's stock market capitalisation showed immense growth last year and increased by more than 50 percent. This is one of the best results in the world, perhaps even the best. Our economy was near the bottom of the list of world economies in terms of size but today it has climbed to ninth place and in some areas has even overtaken some of the other G8 countries' economies. This means that today we are able to tackle social problems. Real incomes are growing by around 12 percent a year. Real income growth over the first four months of this year came to just over 18 percent, while wages rose by 11-12 percent.
    Looking at the problems we have yet to resolve, one of the biggest is the huge income gap between the people at the top and the bottom of the scale. Combating poverty is obviously one of our top priorities in the immediate term and we still have to do a lot to improve our pension system too because the correlation between pensions and the average wage is still lower here than in Europe. The gap between incomes at the top and bottom end of the scale is still high here – a 15.6-15.7-fold difference. This is less than in the United States today (they have a figure of 15.9) but more than in the UK or Italy (where they have 13.6-13.7). But this remains a big gap for us and fighting poverty is one of our biggest priorities.
  • Товарищ волк знает, кого кушать. Кушает, и никого не слушает, и слушать, судя по всему, не собирается.
    • Translation: Comrade wolf knows who to eat. He eats without listening to anybody and it seems he is not ever going to listen.
    • On the U.S., whose military budget is 25 times bigger than Russia's; annual presidential address to the Federal Senate, 10 May 2006
  • Надо исполнять закон всегда, а не только тогда, когда схватили за одно место.
    • Translation: You must obey the law, always, not only when they grab you by your special place.
    • Interview, 4 November 2003
  • Понятно, что надо больше платить, это самый простой вариант, не всегда возможный,(но простой) но способов решения проблемы много
    • Translation: It is clear that we have to pay more, it is the simple option, not always affordable, ("but simple," said in actual recording) but the ways to solve the problem are many.
    • On human capital flight, in address to Committee for Education, Science and Technology (26 October 2004).
  • The democratic choice Russian people made in the early 90's is final.
    • Interview in Brazil for space talks, (22 November 2004).
  • It's extremely dangerous trying to resolve political problems outside the framework of the law — first the ‘Rose Revolution', then they'll think up something like blue. [word play here: "rose" having the colloquial sense of "lesbian" in modern Russian, and "blue" meaning "gay"]
  • First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
  • He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us. We all envy him.
  • People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves.
    • MUNICH, February 10, 2007. [18]
  • После смерти Махатмы Ганди поговорить не с кем.
    • Translation: There is no one to talk to since Mahatma Gandhi died.
    • Responding to a question "Former Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called you a 'pure democrat'. Do you consider yourself such?" June 4, 2007, [20]
  • At least the state figure should have a head.
  • I have worked like a galley slave throughout these eight years, morning till night, and I have given all I could to this work. I am happy with the results.
  • "They [Georgian military forces] launched their attacks at 23:30 [on August 7]. I learned about it the following morning. I spoke to Bush. He said 'No one wants war.' We expected something would happen, I met him again at the stadium. I can't tell you in detail the content of the conversation, but I had the feeling that his administration wouldn't do anything about stopping the conflict, It's a court which makes a king. Maybe the court thought the king shouldn't intervene."
    • Speaking to western journalists and academics in Sochi for the first time since the Georgia crisis began. (September 2008)[22]
  • “You don't understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? Part of its territories is Eastern Europe, but the greater part is a gift from us.”
  • In order to preserve a balance, while we aren't planning to build a missile defence of our own, as it's very expensive and its efficiency is not quite clear yet, we have to develop offensive strike systems. They [U.S.] should give us all the information about the missile defence, and we will be ready then to provide some information about offensive weapons.
    • Putin said that arms control talks between Moscow and Washington were proceeding in a positive way. (December 2009)[24]
  • I am personally acquainted with Mr Gates, I have met him on several occasions. I think he is a very nice man and not a bad specialist. But Mr Gates, of course, was one of the leaders of the US Central Intelligence Agency and today he is defense secretary. If he also happens to be America's leading expert on democracy, I congratulate you.
  • He is profoundly wrong. Our country is run by the people of the Russian Federation through legitimately elected bodies of power and administration: through representative bodies (the parliament) and executive bodies (the president and the government of the Russian Federation)
    • When Larry King asked that Robert Gates is wrong or right about Russia that democracy has disappeared and the government being run by the security services. (February 2010) [26]
  • "All the world saw him being killed, all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos, who were not supposed to be there, brought in so-called opposition and militants. And killed him without trial."
  • "Mr McCain fought in Vietnam. I think that he has enough blood of peaceful citizens on his hands. It must be impossible for him to live without these disgusting scenes anymore. Mr McCain was captured and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years, Anyone [in his place] would go nuts."
    • Response to John McCain's tweet "Dear Vlad, The Arab Spring is coming to a neighbourhood near you." [28]
  • We are not for Assad, neither for his opponents, We want to achieve the situation where the violence ends and there won’t be large-scale civil war. How many of peaceful people were killed by so-called militants? Did you count? There are also hundreds of victims. What is happening in Libya, in Iraq? Did they become safer? Where are they heading? Nobody has an answer.
  • Recently the British people suffered a huge loss. It was a tragedy next to his barracks on the streets of London. A violent assassination, a very brutal killing of a British serviceman. Clearly the opposition is not composed all of this but many of them are exactly the same as the ones who perpetrated the killing in London. If we equip these people, if we arm them what is going to control and verify? who is going to have these weapons?, including in Europe as well. So we call all our partners, before making this dangerous step, think about it very carefully.
  • Not all G8 members take the view that chemical weapons were in fact used by the Syrian Army. Some actually agree with us that there is no proof We had disagreements that is true but I never felt lonely and Russia never was on its own in making a statement in regards of Syria.
  • "In any case, I'd rather not deal with such questions, because anyway it's like shearing a pig – lots of screams but little wool."
    • On not wanting to deal with the US re: Edward Snowden, 25 June 2013 [30]. guardian.co.uk
  • Syria is already in the grips of a civil war, unfortunately enough, and Egypt is moving in that direction. We would like to see the Egyptian people avoid this fate
    • On the situation in Egypt after the ousting of Egyptian president Morsi, 7 July 2013 [31] The Economic Times.co.uk
  • This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them [the Americans], and we assume they are decent people, but he [John Kerry] is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.
    • On the recent chemical attack in Syria, 5 September 2013 [32] USA Today.co.uk
  • Any minority’s right to be different must be respected, but the right of the majority must not be questioned.
  • Without the values at the core of Christianity and other world religions, without moral norms that have been shaped over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity.
    • During his speech at the Valdai forum in 2013
  • They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle 'If you are not with us, you are against us.' To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organizations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall.
    • Crimea address (18 March 2014) [33]
  • The biggest nationalist in Russia: that’s me. (Самый большой националист в России — это я)
    • 2014-10-24, addressing the Valdai Club.[34]

Quotes about Putin[edit]

Alphabetized by author
  • I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.
  • [In 2000] Vladimir Putin had the intelligence, energy and stamina the country needed to get Russia's economy on track and handle its complicated politics.
  • I have always been strongly attracted by the Russian temperament, because I myself also feel very, very much Russian. I adore Vladimir Putin, your president.
  • Ich glaube ihm das, und ich bin davon überzeugt, dass er das ist.
    • I believe him, and I'm convinced that he is.
    • German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder responding to the question Ist Putin ein lupenreiner Demokrat? (Is Putin an exemplary democrat?), interview on the television show ‘Beckmann’, 23 November 2004, quoted on dradio.de

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