Russian Daily News Information Service

President Putin expresses his vision of the world and his role in history

"I am not indifferent about Russia's future, or what kind of person will be ruling the state. I have devoted my entire life to these things"

President Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Dutch journalists yesterday. The first questions, which Western journalists ask President Putin traditionally, are connected with the now-jailed former head of the Russian oil giant Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

When asked if it was possible to have a different outcome of the notorious Yukos case, Putin answered that the people standing back from the state bring only damage to both their citizens and the foreign investors, who try to work in the Russian economy. Putin particularly emphasised the fact that the court issued its decision on the case: "There is nothing good about it. It is quite sad on the one hand. However, if the law is being broken, the state must react accordingly within the framework of existent legislation. This is not an aspect of destabilization. Quite on the contrary, it is an aspect of stability and power of the state," Putin said.

Answering the question about the extensive coverage and vivid reaction, which the Yukos case received in Europe, Putin said: "If you could make a fortune of five or six billion dollars just in several years, I am sure that you would be able to cause a similar reaction too, trying to protect your own interests in Europe and in the whole world."

On another topic Vladimir Putin said that he does not think that NATO is a Russia-unfriendly organization. Russia is willing to establish partnership with different countries and organizations, including NATO. "Moscow has developed several directions of cooperation with NATO. "They include an anti-terrorist struggle, joint efforts to prevent various states of emergency, etc. We are currently launching a joint anti-terrorist project in the Mediterranean Sea with the use of the Russian Navy," Putin said.

The Russian president did not say, though, if Russia was ever going to become a NATO member. "This organization has been undergoing certain internal transformations. We need to understand what we are going to join, if it happens in reality, and which objectives we will have. As for its own security, Russia has been an independent state historically, capable of defending itself alone," the president said.

In the interview Putin excluded an opportunity for Russia to break up. "I never wake up with this idea. I exclude it entirely," the president said. When asked about his abilities to govern such a large country as Russia, Vladimir Putin answered that the efficiency of statesmanship does not depend on the size of a country. "The geographical size of a country certainly influences the form of its government. However, the history of mankind and the present day of many large powers shows that the forms of administration of large states can be efficient," said Putin.

It is well known now that Putin prefers not to talk about his own plans at the end of his second presidential term in Russia. When Dutch reporters asked the president about his plans after the year 2008, Vladimir Putin simply said: "Every normal human being has plans. I cannot imagine a person without plans," said he. Putin added that talking about the future was not considered a good tradition in Russia: "It will depend on how we live and what we do today," the Russian president said.

When talking about the current terrorist activities in Russia and abroad, Vladimir Putin compared Shamil Basayev and Osama bin Laden to rats, who prefer to hide and save their lives, setting up their followers. When one of the journalists asked Putin why Shamil Basayev was still free, Putin responded with a counter-question: "And why cannot they capture Bin Laden then? Because such people as Basayev and Bin Laden hide like rats and make their followers suffer instead."

Putin reminded that there were other terrorists in Chechnya, beside Basayev: "A lot of them have been liquidated, many took the side of their nation and the federal forces and started working in governmental agencies of Chechnya," the president said.

When asked about his opinion regarding the actions of the Russian troops during the recent terrorist attack on the city of Nalchik (in Russia's south, close to Chechnya), Putin said that the results of those actions could speak for themselves: "According to our estimates, the terrorist group, which attacked Nalchik, counted about 150 gunmen. Ninety-three of them have been killed and 40 arrested," Putin said.

Speaking about the problem of terrorism on the whole, Vladimir Putin reminded that Russia was one of the first countries to face terrorism on its territory. It happened as a result of the break up of the Soviet Union, the general weakening of the state, the collapse of the national economy and the social sphere. "However, terrorists will never be able to defeat the nation, which helped to destroy Nazism. First and foremost, the inner sense of self-protection is extremely strong with Russians and other people of Russia," Putin emphasized.


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