Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russian: Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин) (born 7 October 1952) is the President of the Russian Federation. He was elected to a six-year term in 2012, and previously served two four-year terms from 2000 to 2008.
- 1 Quotes
- 2 On Ukraine
- 3 Agriculture
- 4 Cooperation, Terrorism, UK & USA, President Trump, Resolving Conflict, Defense, Crimea, The Media, Nuclear Weapons Policy: 15th Plenary Session (18 October 2018)
- 5 Misattributed
- 6 Quotes about Putin
- 7 Ray McGovern:Russia and U.S. Senators Want Disarmament, U.S. Media Does Not, Foreign Policy Journal (2 May 2018)
- 8 See Also
- 9 External links
2000 - 2005
- There is no such thing as a former KGB man.
- 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!
- Inscription at the World Trade Center Memorial Wall (15 November 2001).
- 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)
- Надо исполнять закон всегда, а не только тогда, когда схватили за одно место.
- 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.
- 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).
- First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
- In a nationally televised speech on (25 April 2005), San Diego Union Tribune.
- 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.
- 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. Kremlin, RU, (May 2005)
- 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.
- Kremlin RU, (25 April 2005)
- 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
- CBS News (May 2005)
- Russia does not want confrontation of any kind. And we will not take part in any kind of "holy alliance".
- Kremlin RU (27 June 2006)
- I stress that we unambiguously support strengthening the non-proliferation regime, without any exceptions, on the basis of international law.
- Kremlin RU (10 May 2006)
- We have spoken on many occasions of the need to achieve high economic growth as an absolute priority for our country. The annual address for 2003 set for the first time the goal of doubling gross domestic product within a decade.
- Annual Address to the Federal Assembly, (May 2006)
- Russia must realise its full potential in high-tech sectors such as modern energy technology, transport and communications, space and aircraft building.
- Annual Address to the Federal Assembly, (10 May 2006)
- He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us.
- 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.
- We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly.
- 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...
- During a meeting with representatives of the Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, May 13. 2006
- 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
- 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.
- 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 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: 
- Not everyone likes the stable, gradual rise of our country. There are some who are using the democratic ideology to interfere in our internal affairs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves.
- MUNICH, February 10, 2007. 
- 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, 
- 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.
- Quoted in The Truth About Putin and Medvedev, last annual press conference.
- I want Saakashvili's head.
- As quoted in "An American Friend" (19 October 2008), The New York Times
- "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)
- Enemies are right in front of you, you are at war with them, then you make an armistice with them, and all is clear. A traitor must be destroyed, crushed.
- In 2001, speaking to journalist Aleksoi Venediktov, to whom he added “You know, Aleksei, you are not a traitor. You are an enemy.” David Remnick, “Echo in the Dark,” in The New Yorker, September 22, 2008.
- 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)
- 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)
2011 - 2015
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Interview (2013).
- [I]t's not by chance that Russia and the U.S. forge 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 brings us together. That's something we need to focus on first. We need to be aware of our differences but focus on a positive agenda that can improve our cooperation.
- For the preservation of the majestic Russia!
- 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.
- In Enniskillen, 18 June 2013, g8-summit-politics-live-blog, guardian.co.uk
- 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 Enniskillen, 18 June 2013 g8-summit-politics-live-blog, guardian.co.uk
- "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 . 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  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  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
- It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
- A plea for caution from Russia, The New York Times, (12 September 2013)
- Recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies. Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization – the United Nations – was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America's long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan "you're either with us or against us"...
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect...
We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.
- A plea for caution from Russia, The New York Times, (12 September 2013)
Also published in the Guardian (12 September 2013)
- A plea for caution from Russia, The New York Times, (12 September 2013)
- "In America, torture was legalized, do you believe it?"
- RT news Putin Press conf (18 December 18, 2014)
- We are guided by interests rather than feelings in dealing with our partners.
- 10 December 2014 http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/766135, "Russia interested in US economy’s ability to resist current crisis — Russian PM"
- However, in this case I would like to speak about the most serious and sensitive issue: international security. Since 2002, after the US unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was absolutely a cornerstone of international security, a strategic balance of forces and stability, the US has been working relentlessly to create a global missile defence system, including in Europe. This poses a threat not only to Russia, but to the world as a whole – precisely due to the possible disruption of this strategic balance of forces.
- 4 December 2014, The Kremlin Moscow, http://eng.news.kremlin.ru/news/23341
- "Sometimes you don't know what is better: to talk with the governments of some States or directly with their American patrons and sponsors."
- 6 December 2014, Владимир Путин @
- 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.
- 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)
- The biggest nationalist in Russia: that’s me. (Самый большой националист в России — это я)
- Addressing the Valdai Club (24 October 2014)
- As for some countries’ concerns about Russia's possible aggressive actions, I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid. Therefore, it is pointless to support this idea; it is absolutely groundless. But some may be interested in fostering such fears. I can only make a conjecture.
For example, the Americans do not want Russia's rapprochement with Europe. I am not asserting this, it is just a hypothesis. Let’s suppose that the United States would like to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic community. It needs an external threat, an external enemy to ensure this leadership. Iran is clearly not enough – this threat is not very scary or big enough. Who can be frightening? And then suddenly this crisis unfolds in Ukraine. Russia is forced to respond. Perhaps, it was engineered on purpose, I don’t know. But it was not our doing.
Let me tell you something – there is no need to fear Russia. The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to think about, I assure you.
- 2015-06-06, Interview to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. 
- Even 50 years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: if a fight is inevitable, go and fight first.
- 2015-10-22, Valdai Forum. 
- We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them. Our Air Force’s military work in Syria must not simply be continued. It must be intensified in such a way that the criminals understand that vengeance is inevitable.
- 2015-11-17, vowing to retaliate against the Islamic militants responsible for the destruction of a Russian airliner over the Sinai on October 31, 2015. Tribune India, (17 November 2015)
2016 - 2018
- If minorities prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that’s the state law... We will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination.’
- Huffington Post, (30 September 2016)
- I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days.
- CNBC.com (6 June 2017)
- They do not represent the interests of the Russian state
Maybe they’re not even Russians,
Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship, even that needs to be checked.
- The Jerusalem Post (10 March 2018)
- Positions have been coordinated, except for the United States, which always has a special opinion. In fact, the US delegation was open about it from the outset. Everyone knows the current Administration’s stance on the Paris Accords. Nevertheless, all the other participants in the forum confirmed their readiness to implement the agreements under the Paris Accords.
Actually, I think there is also a positive moment in the US position too, since the Americans said they were ready to work on the environmental agenda under their own programme. We have to read the final wording but the fact that the Americans say they also want to contribute to solving environmental issues is a positive thing, in my view.
- Vladimir Putin’s news conference, Transcript, Kremlin.ru, (29 June 2019)
- As to Russia, we spoke about it a number of times and we reaffirmed that at the forum again and also agreed on that in the final document. We are going to fully comply with our commitments. In the nearest future we will begin the ratification of these agreements and will conduct the necessary domestic procedures. These issues are highly relevant for us.
I stated this at the last plenary session. Let me remind you that according to the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, the warming in Russia is happening 2.5 times faster than the average global warming. This is a major challenge for us. We must realise that. This is the reason for floods, and for permafrost thawing in the areas where we have fairly big cities. We must be able to understand how to react to the climate changes underway there.
- Vladimir Putin’s news conference, Transcript, Kremlin.ru, (29 June 2019)
- How can one imagine that in some European countries parents are told that “Girls should not wear skirts to school for safety reasons.” What is that? ...How did it get so far? ...It has gotten too far, in my view, that this, liberal idea starts destroying itself. It is true that we really have a very calm attitude towards the LGBT community. Truly, it is calm and absolutely unbiased.
- We have a law that everybody has been kicking us for – a law prohibiting homosexual propaganda among minors. But listen, let a person grow up, become an adult and then to decide who he or she is. Leave children in peace. There are so many inventions nowadays...they invented five or six genders, transformers, trans… I do not even understand what it is.
- This is not the problem. The problem is that this part of society is aggressively imposing their view on the majority. We have to be more loyal to each other, more open and transparent... We have to respect everyone, that is true, but we must not impose our points of view on others. Meanwhile, representatives of the so-called liberal idea are simply forcing their ideas on others. They dictate the need for the so-called sex education. Parents are against it...
- Vladimir Putin’s news conference, Transcript, Kremlin.ru, (29 June 2019)
- Somebody came up with this idea of five or six genders... I don't even understand what they mean... I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia...but we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.... Let everyone be happy... but this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.
Speaking of Elton John, I respect him very much ... but I think he is mistaken. I didn't overstate anything, We have a law that everybody is angry at us because of the law that doesn't allow propaganda of homosexuals among underage population. Let's let the kids grow and then let them decide what they want to do.
- Quoted in Putin fires back at Elton John over gay rights in Russia, CNN, Christina Maxouris, (29 June 2019)
- “Ukraine is an independent, sovereign state and will choose its own path to peace and security. . . . Such a conversation would be entirely appropriate and entirely possible. I certainly don’t see there being anything particularly tricky here, anything that need or that could cast a shadow over relations between Russia and Ukraine.”
- About Ukraine seeking membership in Nato, after the Nato–Russia Council was created at the Nato summit in Rome, May 28, 2002.
- “Just as one must respect our interests since almost 17 million ethnic Russians live in Ukraine and half of all Ukrainian families have ties with the Russian Federation,” in an interview with German ZDF TV, July 13, 2006.
- “According to the statistics, up to 17 million ethnic Russians live in Ukraine, while some four million Ukrainians live in Russia, whether permanently or temporarily,” live with President Vladimir Putin, October 18, 2007.
- “Of Ukraine’s 45 million people, 17 million are ethnic Russians, and this is only according to official statistics. Almost 100 percent of people there consider Russian their native language, well, 80 percent perhaps,” in an interview with Time Magazine, December 19, 2007.
- “There are 17 million ethnic Russians there, officially. Almost 100% of the people consider Russian as their mother tongue,” in the same interview, according to Time.
- There are actually 8.3 million ethnic Russians in Ukraine (17.3% of the population), and 29.3% of Ukrainians consider Russian their native language (2001 census).
- 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"]
- “But in Ukraine, one third are ethnic Russians. Out of forty five million people, in line with the official census, seventeen millions are Russians [actually 8.3M]. There are regions, where only the Russian population lives, for instance, in the Crimea. 90% are Russians [actually 59%]. Generally speaking, Ukraine is a very complicated state. Ukraine, in the form it currently exists, was created in the Soviet times, it received its territories from Poland – after the Second World war, from Czechoslovakia, from Romania – and at present not all the problems have been solved as yet in the border region with Romania in the Black Sea. Then, it received huge territories from Russia in the east and south of the country. It is a complicated state formation. If we introduce into it NATO problems, other problems, it may put the state on the verge of its existence. Complicated internal political problems are taking place there. We should act also very-very carefully. We do not have any right to veto, and, probably, we do not pretend to have. But I want that all of us, when deciding such issues, realize that we have there our interests as well. Well, seventeen million Russians currently live in Ukraine. Who may state that we do not have any interests there? South, the south of Ukraine, completely, there are only Russians.”
- In a speech at the NATO Bucharest summit, April 2, 2008 
- “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.” (Ты же понимаешь, Джордж, что Украина — это даже не государство! Что такое Украина? Часть ее территорий — это Восточная Европа, а часть, и значительная, подарена нами!)
- According to the same source, “and then he very transparently hinted that if Ukraine was still admitted to NATO, this state would simply cease to exist, that is, in fact, he threatened that Russia could start the rejection of the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.” (И тут он очень прозрачно намекнул, что если Украину все же примут в НАТО, это государство просто прекратит существование. То есть фактически он пригрозил, что Россия может начать отторжение Крыма и Восточной Украины.)
- Speaking to George H. Bush at the NATO Bucharest Summit, April 4, 2008. Originally reported in Kommersant.ru based on an unidentified source.
- Sadly, it reminds me of World War II, when German fascist forces surrounded our cities, like Leningrad, and shelled population centres and their residents.
- On the Ukrainian army's siege of pro-Russian rebel strongholds in Donetsk and Luhansk, 29 August 2014, , The Wall Street Journal
- Speaking of the sanctions, they are not just a knee-jerk reaction on behalf of the United States or its allies to our position regarding the events and the coup in Ukraine, or even the so-called Crimean Spring. I’m sure that if these events had never happened – I want to point this out specifically for you as politicians sitting in this auditorium – if none of that had ever happened, they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, affect our country in some way, or even take advantage of it. 4 December 2014, The Kremlin Moscow, http://eng.news.kremlin.ru/news/23341
- “Crimea is not a disputed territory. There has been no ethnic conflict there, unlike the conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia. Russia has long recognized the borders of modern-day Ukraine. On the whole, we have completed our talks on borders. The issue of demarcation still stands, but this is just a technicality.” (Крым не является никакой спорной территорией. Там не было никакого этнического конфликта, в отличие от конфликта между Южной Осетией и Грузией. И Россия давно признала границы сегодняшней Украины. Мы, по сути, закончили в общем и целом наши переговоры по границе. Речь идет о демаркации, но это уже технические дела.)
- [Anton Denikin, in his diary] “has a discussion there about Great and Little Russia, Ukraine. He says that no one should be allowed to interfere in relations between us; this has always been only Russia’s business.” (Обязательно прочитайте! Там у него есть рассуждения о большой и малой России, Украине. Он говорит, что никому не должно быть позволено вмешиваться в отношения между нами, это всегда было делом самой России!)
- On laying a wreath at Denikin’s grave in Moscow, May 24, 2009. James Marson, “Putin to the West: Hands off Ukraine” in Time Magazine, May 25, 2009.
- On not needing Ukraine to win the Second World War: “Now on our relationship with Ukraine: I will disagree when you said that if we had been separated we would not have been victorious in the war. We would have won in any case, because we are a country of winners. [. . .] This means, that the war was won—I don’t want to offend anyone—on account of the industrial resources of the RF. It’s a historical fact, it’s all in the documents.” (Теперь по поводу наших отношений с Украиной. Я позволю с вами не согласиться, когда вы сейчас сказали, что если бы мы были разделены, мы не победили бы в войне. Мы все равно победили бы, потому что мы - страна победителей. [. . .] Это значит, что война выиграна, не хочу никого обижать, за счет индустриальных ресурсов РФ. Это исторический факт, это все в документах.)
- In a Channel One televised Q&A in 2010-12-16 (quoted in “Russian-Ukrainian Information Wars Over the Meanings of WWII.)
- “There are historians here, and people with their own views on our country’s history might argue with me, but I think that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are practically one single people, no matter what others might say.” (Вот люди, которые имеют свои собственные взгляды, здесь историков очень много, на историю нашей страны, могут поспорить, но мне кажется, что русский и украинский народ – это практически один народ, вот кто бы чего ни говорил.)
- “We in Russia have always considered Russians and Ukrainians to be one people. I still think so.” (Мы всегда в России считали, что русские и украинцы – это один народ. Я так думаю и сейчас.)
- Speech at a Moscow concert on the first anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, March 18, 2015.
- “I will not go into who is to blame for what now. I have always considered, and still do today, that Russians and Ukrainians are really one people. There are people who hold radical nationalist views both in Russia and in Ukraine. But overall, for the majority, we are one people, a people who share a common history and culture and are ethnically close. First we were divided, then we were set against each other, but we are not to blame for this. We must find our own way out of this situation. I am sure that common sense will prevail and that we will find a solution.” (Я сейчас не буду говорить про то, кто в чём виноват, но я считаю, как и считал, что русские и украинцы – это действительно один народ. У нас есть люди крайних националистических взглядов, как в России, так и в Украине. Но в целом в большинстве своём это один народ – народ одной истории, одной культуры, очень близкий этнически. Нас сначала разделили, а потом стравили, но мы сами в этом виноваты. И мы должны сами найти выход из этой ситуации.)
- Meeting of the Valdai Club, 2016-10-27.
- “You know my position; I spoke about it a number of times. I believe that we are one nation with practically no differences. There are some cultural differences, and the linguistic colouring is a little different. As for me, for instance, the identity of the Ukrainian people’s culture is worth a lot. It is a very rich culture. But in essence, on the whole, we are one people, and a very patient one.” (Вы знаете мою позицию, много раз говорил на этот счёт. Считаю, что у нас один народ, и разницы практически никакой нет. Есть культурологическая, языковая окраска немножко другая. Причём для меня, например, своеобразие культуры украинского народа, на мой взгляд, это очень дорогого стоит. Это действительно богатая культура. Но в целом, по сути‑то один народ.)
- Visit to Lebedinsky GOK, 2017-07-14.
- “In this sense our historical, spiritual and other roots entitle me to say that basically we are one and the same people.” (И в этом смысле наши исторические, духовные и прочие корни дают мне право говорить, что в своей основе мы один народ.)
- Annual press conference, 2017-12-14
- Ukrainian army soldiers are being killed in Donbas. It’s horrible. When I think about this, it makes a very strong impression on me. Because I consider all of them to be ours(2018-03-07). (На Донбассе гибнут военнослужащие украинской армии. Когда я об этом думаю, на меня это производит очень сильное впечатление. Потому что я считаю, что там все наши.)
- Today, agriculture exports exceed arms sales by more than a third. $28.8 billion from agricultural sector, $15.6 billion from the defense industry... we plan to supply more food to the world markets than we import... To achieve this goal, Russia plans to develop infrastructure, broaden the railway network, increase the capacity of seaports, elevators, and storage terminals... Russia should be aiming at exports of environmentally friendly and quality products. GMO has been banned in Russia since 2016...
Cooperation, Terrorism, UK & USA, President Trump, Resolving Conflict, Defense, Crimea, The Media, Nuclear Weapons Policy: 15th Plenary Session (18 October 2018)
- These discussions have always presented different and sometimes even opposite points of view. I think that this is the advantage of this discussion club; we call it a discussion club because where there is only one, right point of view, there is no place for discussion. Truth is born from comparing different approaches to the same phenomena and various assessments. Thanks to your participation, we can reach this result.
- There is a demand for true heroism in our lives. True heroism can manifest itself, in particular, by defending civilization from today’s evils. Of course, terrorism is one of the most serious and challenging evils.... the only way to effectively stand up to terrorism is to join efforts. Unfortunately, in the true sense of the word, we have not put this cooperation in place yet. There are some aspects of cooperation where we have succeeded but this is not enough. By the highest standards, we have failed to join efforts the way we should so far, while this could be done, based on the relevant international rules of law and UN resolutions.
- Warfare with the use of aviation and military hardware and so on, a huge number of militant groups on the territory of this country, with militants coming mostly from terrorist organisations based abroad, including Al-Qaeda who were active in this country. Thank God, we got rid of this but we have not eradicated terrorism per se. Of course, terrorism still poses a great threat to our country as well, which was why we launched these operations in Syria...
- For some years before us, countries that agreed to participate in these anti-terrorist operations, most often voluntarily, and maybe even with less than perfect goals and objectives – what result have we seen in the previous three years? None. While we have liberated almost 95 percent of the entire territory of the Syrian Republic. This is my first point. Second. We supported Syria’s statehood, prevented the state from collapsing. True, there are still many problems.
- The next step is a political settlement at the UN in Geneva. We need to form a constitutional committee now. Progress is not easy, but we are still moving forward. I hope that we will move ahead with our partners in this area. We all need to be on the alert, not underestimate the threats, and step up our joint work to combat terrorism, the ideology of terrorism and the financing of terrorism.
UK & USA
- There is an old joke, but some people may not know it. They might find it amusing. It sounds like that. Question: ”How do you relax?“ Answer: ”I am relaxed.“ The same goes for tensions in international affairs. We are not creating any problems for anyone. Are we the ones creating problems? No. Instead, we are being accused of things. They say that Russia was “highly likely” to have done this or that, intervened at one place and wreaked havoc at another. But, no one believes it is necessary to produce any evidence... the result of the internal political struggle in the Western world as a whole. Now they are fighting... and there is controversy... someone has apparently decided that playing the anti-Russia card would be a very convenient way to resolve domestic political problems. This is bad for everyone...
- Were our meetings with President Trump harmful or helpful? I believe that, despite the attempt to discredit these meetings, they nevertheless were more positive than negative. ...it is better to communicate and interact with each other than, forgive my language, engage in a never-ending dogfight. Our meetings have hardly improved US domestic politics, I guess. Probably because, again, there are those who are always trying to play this card in the domestic political struggle. I would say the incumbent president is geared to stabilise and level Russian-American relations. Let's see how the situation develops. We, in any case, are ready for this at any time... We have a comfortable professional dialogue with him... he reacts to the arguments I make. He may disagree with something I say, just as I would disagree with something he might say. We have different views... but this is a normal discussion between partners...
- Generally speaking, it is irresponsible to lead the world to the brink of a global crisis whose consequences are hard to foresee. We have never used such a policy, and we will not do so in the future.... We are not afraid of anything. Given our territory, our defense system, and our people that are ready to fight for independence and sovereignty — the willingness of our men and women to give up their lives for their country is not common among all nations. Nobody can change these things, and this makes us certain that we can feel secure...
- We are improving our attack systems as an answer to the United States building its missile defense system... Clearly, we have overtaken all our, so to speak, partners and competitors in this sphere, and this fact is acknowledged by the experts. No one has a high-precision hypersonic weapon...So, we feel confident in this sense.
- Crimea is our land... Even if someone decides to argue with me, the dispute will immediately come to a dead-end... Democracy is the power of the people. How is it exercised, this power of the people? It is exercised through referendums, elections and so on. People came to a referendum in Crimea and voted for independence, first, and then for being part of Russia....Let me remind you for the hundredth time that there was no referendum in Kosovo, only the parliament voted for independence, that was all. Everyone who wanted to support and destroy the former Yugoslavia said: well, thank God, we are fine with that... we proceed based on the will expressed by the people who live on that territory.
- Look, there are senior executives from our television company Russia Today sitting across from me. What is happening in some countries where they operate? They are being banned. What does this mean? It means those who do so are afraid of the competition... Someone is making it hard for them. That means we are winning....We do not have global media like CNN, Fox News, BBC and so on... We have just one fairly modest channel. Even if it causes so much heartburn and fear of it being able to influence minds, then we are winning this competition...
- Our nuclear weapons doctrine does not provide for a pre-emptive strike.... there is no provision for a pre-emptive strike in our nuclear weapons doctrine. Our concept is based on a reciprocal counter strike. We are prepared and will use nuclear weapons only when we know for certain that some potential aggressor is attacking Russia...Only when we know for certain – and this takes a few seconds to understand – that Russia is being attacked we will deliver a counter strike. This would be a reciprocal counter strike. Why do I say ‘counter’? Because we will counter missiles flying towards us by sending a missile in the direction of an aggressor. Of course, this amounts to a global catastrophe but I would like to repeat that we cannot be the initiators of such a catastrophe... any aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable and they will be annihilated. And we as the victims of an aggression, we as martyrs would go to paradise while they will simply perish because they won’t even have time to repent their sins.
Quotes about Putin
- Alphabetized by author
- Under Russian Federation President and former career foreign intelligence officer Vladimir Putin, an 'FSB State' composed of chekists has been established and is consolidating its hold on the country. Its closest partners are organized criminals. In a world marked by a globalized economy and information infrastructure, and with transnational terrorism groups utilizing all available means to achieve their goals and further their interests, Russian intelligence collaboration with these elements is potentially disastrous.
- Julie Anderson, "The Chekist Takeover of the Russian State", International Journal of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence (May 2006), Volume 19, Issue 2, pp. 237–288.
- This guy is a KGB guy. This guy issues a law allowing the Russians to kill opponents abroad. So they kill opponents abroad. This is absolutely logical. Why did they issue this law? For what? Because this is Russia and nobody agrees to kill without the signature of somebody more important who gave the order.
- Boris Berezovsky, as quoted in "Kremlin, Inc.: Why are Vladimir Putin’s opponents dying?" (29 January 2007), by Michael Specter, The New Yorker.
- 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.
- Vladimir Putin, yeah, I met with him a lot during the presidency... I got to know him very well. I had a good relationship throughout, it became more tense as time went on... Vladimir’s a person who in many ways views the U.S. as an enemy... And although he wouldn’t say that, I felt that he viewed the world as either the U.S. benefits and Russia loses or vice-versa. I tried of course to dispel him of that notion...
- People say, "He's the most popular guy in Russia." I say: "Yeah, I'd be popular too if I owned NBC."
- [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.
- Russia is a new phenomenon in Europe: a state defined and dominated by former and active-duty security and intelligence officers. Not even fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, or the Soviet Union – all undoubtedly much worse creations than Russia; were as top-heavy with intelligence talent... There is no historical precedent for a society so dominated by former and active-duty internal-security and intelligence officials; men who rose up in a professional culture in which murder could be an acceptable, even obligatory, business practice... Those who operated within the Soviet sphere were the most malevolent in their practices. These men mentored and shaped Putin and his closest friends and allies. It is therefore unsurprising that Putin's Russia has become an assassination-happy state where detention, interrogation, and torture; all tried and true methods of the Soviet KGB; are used to silence the voices of untoward journalists and businessmen who annoy or threaten Putin's FSB state.
- Reuel M. Gerecht, "A Rogue Intelligence State? Why Europe and America Cannot Ignore Russia" (6 April 2007), AEI.
- After nearly fifteen years of systematic destruction of public space, engineered by Putin, the normal ways by which regular people absorb information about the state of their country are gone. Only a person who had lost his livelihood or half his savings would have been able to report that the economy was failing.
- Public space frightens the Putin regime, which has worked hard, and effectively, to destroy it.
- Like the Soviet regime before it, the Putin government spreads fear by destroying the illusion that one can protect oneself.
- Masha Gessen, "Putin's Russia: Don't Walk, Don't Eat, and Don't Drink" (28 May 2015), The New Yorker.
- Allow dissent & free media for 6 months in Russia and see what happens. Putin would never risk it because he’s terrified of his own people and the truth, like every dictator.
- The leaders of the free world keep lowering their standards and authoritarians keep taking more territory. Eventually people wake up and ask why Putin murders in the UK or hacks in the US. Why wouldn’t he? You didn’t stop him before.
- I looked into his eyes and saw three letters: a 'K', a 'G', and a 'B'.
- John McCain, as quoted in "Hillary Clinton Campaigning Ponders Putin's Soul" (2008), Boston.
- And then there is Russia. Over the past 8 years under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, threatened NATO allies, and intervened militarily in Syria, leaving a trail of death and destruction and broken promises in his wake. Russia’s military has targeted Syrian hospitals and first responders with precision weapons. Russia supplied the weapons that shot down a commercial aircraft over Ukraine. Russia’s war on Ukraine has killed thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. And in the most flagrant demonstration of Putin’s disdain and disrespect for our Nation, Russia deliberately interfered in our recent election with cyber attacks and a disinformation campaign designed to weaken America and discredit Western values. Each of our last three Presidents has had great expectations of building a partnership with the Russian Government. Each attempt has failed, not for lack of good faith and effort on the U.S. side, but because of a stubborn fact that we must finally recognize: Putin wants to be our enemy. He needs us as his enemy. He will never be our partner, including in fighting ISIL. He believes that strengthening Russia means weakening America. We must proceed realistically on this basis.
- John McCain, during his remarks as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee during the confirmation hearing on James Mattis' nomination for Secretary of Defense, on January 12, 2017. As quoted on page 19 of the hearing's transcript.
- I understand why he has to do this; to prove he's a man... He's afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.
- Contrary to...[the] recent assertion that the escalating crisis between the U.S. and Russia “all began…in Yalta in September 2013,” ...we actually need to go back... to the May 2012 Bilderberg...
Daniel Estulin, the foremost (non-member) expert on Bilderberg, reported in June 2012 that the “top headache” for the Bilderberg participants at that May 2012 meeting was Russian President Vladimir Putin because of his “opposition to war in Syria and Iran,” his “belligerence with respect to U.S. bases encircling Russia,” his “insistence on maintaining state sovereignty intact,” and his plans for another natural gas pipeline to Europe... that “could turn into a major victory for Russia” at the expense of competing plans... backed by Bilderberg members...
Estulin noted a Bilderberg “campaign to delegitimize Putin,” financed by “some very angry and powerful Anglo-American elites.” Present at that 2012 conclave were top executives from Royal Dutch Shell (CEO Peter Voser and Chair Jorma Ollila) and BP (CEO Robert Dudley). Also present was then-Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, now U.S. Secretary of State.
Interestingly, Daniel Estulin further reported that at the May 2012 Bilderberg meeting, “…one European Bilderberger openly admitted [that] ‘Putin is by far the most formidable opponent in the world stage to our plans.’ What makes [the] Bilderberg position that much more difficult is Putin’s moral position in ‘protecting and promoting its [Russia’s] national interest’.” In other words, Putin had done nothing wrong, and the Bilderberg participants knew it. But he is in the way of “our plans,” whatever those may be.
- Putin has a weak hand and he's bluffing, successfully; the West has a strong hand and has no idea what to do with it.
- Jay Nordlinger, "Democracy Won’t Defend Itself; We Have To" (4 March 2018), National Review
- Putin is slouching…looking like that bored schoolboy in the back of the classroom.
- This man think that you can’t criticise your government. This man thinks that if you sing and dance in an inappropriate way you get two years in prison!
- Pussy Riot, as quoted in "Members of the Pussy Riot burn effigy Putin as they vow to continue their 'musical fight in Russia" (6 September 2012), Lybio.Net.
- History shows that the process of modernization leads societies to form liberal democracies with market systems. Yet some leaders insist on trying to create alternative models, even though those models are unstable and retrograde. Putin's authoritarian effort to create a managed democracy in Russia offers a good example... After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 many people expected Russia to make a rapid transition from communism to democracy... However, what followed in Russia was a period of experimentation with relatively greater liberalism under President Boris Yeltsin that led not to democracy, but the rise of Putin and an authoritarian system... Putin's authoritarian system does not mean that he has built a successful alternative to liberal democracy. Instead, the system owes its existence in part to the slow development of a middle class in Russia that normally would demand a share of power. That slow development, in turn, is largely thanks to the state's monopolization of the country's most lucrative business activities: the export of energy and other natural resources.
- Charles Recknagel, "Fukuyama: 'Putinism', Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy" (30 January 2016), Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty.
- Putin told several Western leaders, “I want Saakashvili’s head.” If they want my head, for me it’s more funny than troubling.
- Ich glaube ihm das, und ich bin davon überzeugt, dass er das ist.
- If there is a threat to national and global security today, and a threat to free speech and independent media, it is not coming from Putin or the Kremlin – but rather from the United States. And until the American left gathers itself and stops listening to the warmongering pundits and establishment journalists parroting the Washington narrative, we have nothing but a bleak future in front of us with regards to the relation between the two old nemesis nuclear superpowers.
- Jonathan Sigrist in Russiagate and the Neo McCarthyite War on Alternative Media and Political Dissent, Global Research, (28 February 2018)
- Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same:“Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” ... The Washington Post...editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.” ...Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme... A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought...
- Often the biggest lies involve what remains unsaid. For instance, U.S. media rarely mention such key matters as the promise-breaking huge expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders since the fall of the Berlin Wall... or the more than 800 U.S. military bases overseas -- in contrast to Russia’s nine... We need a major shift in the U.S. approach toward Russia...The lives -- and even existence -- of future generations are at stake in the relationship between Washington and Moscow... The incessant drumbeat is in sync with what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.
- Putin is the most mature statesmen in the whole world right now. He's been there for four American presidents, since Clinton...He's been everywhere, met everybody. And he sees the world as needing balance. It's not a uni-polar world, dominated by the United States... He's been very clear that we need balances of regional power. Unfortunately, the United States just doesn't want to believe that...it's our military side that scares the sh-- out of me,.. as we tend to be arrogant, that's when you become very dangerous.
- Somehow we have to learn that we don't have to be number one. We can be partners with the world.That's what I think Putin sees, very clearly. And he's trying to counter it in every way he can to keep his own region alive. He's in jeopardy. I mean, we have had our sights on him heavily since 2007 or 2008.
- In January 2018, the experts at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight, where it had stood during the darkest days of the Cold War, from 1953 to 1960. The latest move of the hands was precipitated by the recklessness in Trump’s nuclear thinking and the deepening crisis over Korea.
Acting like a hegemon, the United States, starting in 1999, took advantage of Russian weakness and broke its promise not to expand NATO, eventually adding 13 countries, the last of which was Montenegro, in 2017. When Bush announced plans to incorporate Georgia and Ukraine, Putin drew the line. Following the US-backed Ukrainian coup, he took back Crimea and made clear that there are limits to his toleration of NATO expansion.
- In his March 1, 2018, Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, he went further, throwing down the gauntlet to the United States. Russia, he acknowledged, had been on the defensive since the Soviet Union collapsed, having lost substantial amounts of its territory, population, GDP, industrial potential, and military capability. It depended on the IMF and World Bank for survival. The United States ignored its appeals not to abrogate the ABM Treaty in 2002 and expanded its global missile-defense system, leaving Russia vulnerable to a US attack.
But now, in March 2018, Putin was declaring that the US effort had failed. He unveiled the existence of five new nuclear weapons, all of which could circumvent US missile-defense systems. He concluded defiantly, “I hope everything that has been said today will sober any potential aggressor,” adding, “No one listened to us. Listen to us now.” Independent Russian military analyst Aleksandr Golts said that all the weapons experts he had spoken to were “in shock, as was I.”
Ray McGovern:Russia and U.S. Senators Want Disarmament, U.S. Media Does Not, Foreign Policy Journal (2 May 2018)
Full text online (2 May 2018)
- Ray McGovern: Let me just start with Putin’s major address [1 March 2018] ... It was really something. Not only did he advertise a whole new generation of strategic weaponry, which he claimed, and no one has disproved, would render the billions of dollars that we have wasted on antiballistic missile defenses useless. They’re useless to begin with, most scientists and engineers say, but these new weapons that he advertised, and some of which he said are operational, would upend that... he also said, Now, we tried to get you to listen to us. You wouldn’t listen to us. Now, hopefully, you will listen to us. Let’s get together at the appropriate time with experts and figure out how we address these problems, in other words, talks on arms control ...
- Now, a couple days later he’s talking about the strategic relationship and somebody says, Now, Mr. Putin—this is in an interview...six days later—somebody says, Hey, listen, Mr. Putin...would you destroy the whole world? If there were a first strike on Russia, would you really respond? It would be too late to save Russia.... Look, He says, yes, this would be a global catastrophe, but “as a citizen of Russia and as the head of the Russian state, I ask, What need will we have for a world if there was no Russia?” So he’s saying, Look, you’ve got to take this stuff seriously. Yes, we would retaliate, even if it meant that the rest of the world would be blown up as well as Russia.
- Two days later... senior senators... three Democrats....Feinstein, Wyden, the fellow up there in Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders—they issue a call, a letter to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Look, this is really getting out of hand. We don’t like the fact that Putin is brandishing these weapons that we really haven’t ever heard of before, but he’s calling for arms control talks, so let’s talk. Let’s talk. Guess what? That appeal appeared on all those four senators’ websites but was totally—totally—ignored by what passes for the mainstream media. So one suspects that this is an unwelcome subject, and there is proof positive...we're talking about four senior senators appealing for arms control talks on their websites but it never getting past their websites, no publicity for it. I’m thinking that Chuck Schumer said, No, no. Arms control, no, no... Don’t mention arms control talks. So that’s the reality in the mainstream media.
- ...Putin’s looking at all this. He knows who “the crazies” are and he knows that Bolton has a lot of influence. So this is a very destabilizing thing, because when the Russians keep telling us, Look, we’ve got these new weapons, well, you know, the press says, Ah, they’re faking it, they’re probably faking it. You know, I don’t know if they’re faking it or not. But, my God, if we knew about all this, why is it not in the annual intelligence briefing that is given to both the House and to the Senate early each year? It’s missing. All we get is rhetoric about how bad the Russians are, just as if they were the old Soviet Union, ideologically determined to bury us...
- The official site of the President of the Russian Federation
- Transcript of an American TV discussion held in November 2003; discusses whether Putin is a democrat or a dictator
- BBC - Vladimir Putin: Spy turned politician
- PutinRu.com - Vladimir Putin - President of Russian Federation
- Atlantic Monthly- The Accidental Autocrat
- Putin faces nation's questions, BBC News