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RT: Here you've said there should be no foreign intervention and it should be the Syrian people who do the deciding and it should be done through diplomacy. However, that's a great idea, but day in day out innocent lives are being lost on both sides. Is it time for something more than talking? Should Russia be reassessing its position maybe now?
Putin: How come Russia is the only one who’s expected to revise its stance? Don’t you think our counterparts in negotiations ought to revise theirs as well? Because if we look back at the events in the past few years, we’ll see that quite a few of our counterparts’ initiatives have not played out the way they were intended to.
Take the examples of the numerous countries ridden by escalating internal conflict. The US and its allies went into Afghanistan, and now they’re all thinking about how to get out of there. If there’s anything on the table, it’s the issue of assisting them in withdrawing their troops and hardware from Afghanistan through our transit routes.
Now, are you sure that the situation there will be stable for decades to come? So far, no one is confident about it.
We realize that this country needs a change, but this doesn’t mean that change should come with bloodshed.
RT: OK, well, given the facts regarding Syria that you see on the table now, what is the next step? What do you realistically think is going to happen next?
Putin: We told our partners we would like to sit down together at the negotiating table in Geneva. And when we did, together we charted a roadmap for further action that would help bring peace to Syria and channel developments down a more constructive path.
We received almost unanimous support and shared the talks’ results with the Syrian government. But then the rebels actually refused to recognize those decisions; and many of the negotiating parties have also quietly backed down.
I believe that the first thing to do is to stop shipping arms into the warzone, which is still going on. We should stop trying to impose unacceptable solutions on either side, because it is a dead-end. That’s what we should do. It is that simple.
RT: What are your thoughts about the United Nations and the way the United Nations has reacted particularly in Syria. There's been criticism that it's failed to deliver a unified front if you like and has become more of a figurehead organization. Do you share that view?
Putin: Quite the contrary, I would say. My take on the issue is the absolute opposite of what you have just said. If the United Nations and the Security Council had indeed turned into a mere rubberstamping tool for any one of the member states, it would have ceased to exist, just like the League of Nations did. But the reality is that the Security Council and the UN are meant to be a tool for compromise.
RT: (...)the catch here is that the FSA is suspected of hiring known Al-Qaeda fighters amongst their ranks. So the twist in this tale is that a lot of those countries are actually sponsoring terrorism, if you like, in Syria, countries that have suffered from terrible terrorism themselves. Is that a fair assessment?
Putin: You know, when someone aspires to attain an end they see as optimal, any means will do. As a rule, they will try and do that by hook or by crook – and hardly ever think of the consequences. That was the case during the war in Afghanistan, when the Soviet Union invaded in 1979. At that time, our present partners supported a rebel movement there and basically gave rise to Al Qaeda, which later backfired on the United States itself.
Today some want to use militants from Al Qaeda or some other organizations with equally radical views to accomplish their goals in Syria.
This policy is dangerous and very short-sighted. In that case, one should unlock Guantanamo, arm all of its inmates and bring them to Syria to do the fighting – it's practically the same kind of people. But what we should bear in mind is that one day these people will get back at their former captors. On the other hand, these same people should bear in mind that they will eventually end up in a new prison, very much like the one off the Cuban shore.
I would like to emphasize that this policy is very short-sighted and is fraught with dire consequences.
RT: (...)If Obama does win a second term, what's going to define the next chapter of Russia and America's relations and is it chapter you can do business with?
Putin: I believe that over the last four years Presidents Obama and Medvedev have made a lot of progress in strengthening Russia-US relations. We have signed the new START treaty. Backed by the US, Russia has become a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organization. There have been more reasons to be optimistic about our bilateral relations: our strengthened cooperation in combating terrorism and organized crime, in the non-proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction and others. In other words, we have accumulated quite a lot of positive experience.
But the issue you mentioned – the US missile defense system – is surely one of the key issues on today’s agenda because it involves Russia’s vital interests. Scholars and experts understand that a unilateral solution will not enhance global stability. In essence, the intention is to upset the strategic balance, which is a very dangerous thing to do, as any involved party will always strive to maintain its defensive capabilities, and the entire thing could simply trigger off an arms race.
Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if president Obama is re-elected for a second term? In principle, yes, it is. But this isn’t just about president Obama. For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere.
I met him recently on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I had the chance to feel the mood of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a sincere man and that he sincerely wants to implement positive change. But can he do it, will they let him do it?
I mean that there is also the military lobby, and the Department of State, which is quite conservative. By the way it is fairly similar to Russia’s Foreign Ministry. They are run by a number of professional clans who have been working there for decades. The thing is that in order to solve the missile defense issue, we both need to accept as an axiom that ‘yes, we are reliable partners and allies for each other’.
Let’s imagine for a second we have the solution – that means that from now on we jointly assess missile threats and control this defense system together. This is a highly sensitive area of national defense. I am not sure that our partners are ready for this kind of cooperation.
RT: Is there anything that Russia can do to try and meet in the middle, to give a better ground?
Putin: We did what we could. We said, let’s do it together. Our partners are so far refusing to go along. What else can we do? We can maintain dialogue. That’s exactly what we will be doing, but naturally, as our American partners proceed with developing their own missile defense we shall have to think of how we can defend ourselves and preserve the strategic balance.
By the way, America’s European allies (who also happen to be Russia’s partners) have nothing to do with it. I believe that as a European national, you should understand it. This is a purely American missile defense system, and a strategic one at that, with its European elements pushed to the periphery. You see, Europe, just like Russia, is not allowed to take part in either assessing missile threats or controlling the system.
Our original proposal was to develop it as a three-party solution, but our partners have not agreed to it.
RT: Ok and now I’d like to talk about the trial and jailing of Pussy Riot, that punk group band.(...) With hind sight , always a beautiful thing, but with hindsight do you think the case could have been handled differently?
Putin: You’ve been working in Russia for a while now and maybe know some Russian. Could you please translate the name of the band into Russian?
RT: Pussy Riot the punk band,I don’t know what you would call them in Russian Sir, but may be you could tell me!
Putin: Can you translate the first word into Russian? Or maybe it would sound too obscene? Yes, I think you wouldn’t do it because it sounds too obscene, even in English.
RT: I actually thought it was referring to a cat, but I’m getting your point here. Do you think the case was handled wrongly in any way, could some lesson have been learned?
Putin: I know you understand it perfectly well, you don’t need to pretend you don’t get it. It’s just because these people made everyone say their band’s name too many times. It’s obscene – but forget it.
Here’s what I would like to say. I have always felt that punishment should be proportionate to the offence. I am not in a position now and would not like, anyway, to comment on the decision of a Russian court, but I would rather talk about the moral side of the story.
First, in case you never heard of it, a couple of years ago one of the band’s members put up three effigies in one of Moscow’s big supermarkets, with a sign saying that Jews, gays and migrant workers should be driven out of Moscow.
I think the authorities should have looked into their activities back then. After that, they staged an orgy in a public place. Of course, people are allowed to do whatever they want to do, as long as it’s legal, but this kind of conduct in a public place should not go unnoticed by the authorities. Then they uploaded the video of that orgy on the internet. You know some fans of group sex say it’s better than one-on-one because, like in any team, you don’t need to hit the ball all the time.
Again, it’s okay if you do what you like privately, but I wouldn’t be that certain about uploading your acts on the internet. It could be the subject of legal assessment, too.
Then they turned up at Yelokhovo Cathedral, here in Moscow, causing unholy mayhem, and went to another cathedral and caused mayhem there, too.
You know, Russians still have painful memories of the early years of Soviet rule, when thousands of Orthodox, Muslim, as well as clergy of other religions were persecuted. Soviet authorities brutally repressed the clergy. Many churches were destroyed.
The attacks had a devastating effect on all our traditional religions. And so in general I think the state has to protect the feelings of believers.
I will not comment on whether the verdict is well-grounded and the sentence proportionate to the offence.
These girls must have lawyers who defend their interests in court. They have the right to file an appeal and demand a new hearing. But it’s up to them, it’s just a legal issue.
I don’t know whether their lawyers have filed an appeal or not. I don’t follow the case that closely. If they appeal, a higher court is empowered to take any decision.
To be honest, I try to stay as far away from the case as possible. I know the details but I do not want to get into it.
Originally posted by Flint2011
Your source links is not working for me at all. Can you please provide proper links to the source of the interview? Thanks in advance.
Originally posted by WeRpeons
reply to post by GarrusVasNormandy
I would like to see panels made up of some of the major leaders discussing their stance on major issues and have it broadcast around the world during prime time. Maybe governments need to do this 2 or 3 times a year. I think it would open a lot of eyes and may bring bring warmer relations between countries. Maybe if negotiations were not always private, the public would bring more pressure on their leaders to compromise.