Author Topic: The World According to Putin : Obama, Surveillance,Crimea,Ukraine and New Russia  (Read 1766 times)

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Offline mayya

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The World According to Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014.IMAGE: RIA NOVOSTI, ALEXEI NIKOLSKY, PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/ASSOCIATED PRESS


Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted an annual televised call-in show on Thursday, called the "Straight Line," where he answers viewers' questions on anything and everything. This year's topics: the state of things in Ukraine, mass surveillance (with special guest Edward Snowden!), and whether President Obama would save him if he was drowning, among other things.

The show, which happens once a year, provides rare insight into the mind of the former KGB agent, and the world according to Vladimir Putin.
Here are Mashable's key quotes from Thursday's show.

Putin on the U.S., and President Barack Obama
"I think he's a decent man, brave and would do it," Putin said when asked if he thought Obama would save him if he was drowning. "We had scheduled meetings with them, but our American colleagues have decided to suspend them. But I hope that with time everything will fall into place," he said. Putin later stated that trust between Russia and the U.S. was largely lost. And that's not a direct result of the past month — it started in 2011. "It's not that it's over now due to the Crimea," Putin said. "I think it ended earlier, immediately after the events in Libya." Putin says western engagement in Libya was the beginning of the end of trust between the two countries, when the U.S. "shocked" the region, which led to "the overthrow of Gaddafi himself, his murder, then the murder of the U.S. ambassador and the collapse of the country. From here and there is mistrust," Putin said. Still, he later said, "I'm sure we will come to a mutual understanding with Ukraine. We will not be able to do without each other."
Putin on Government Surveillance

Edward Snowden, displayed on television screens, asks a question to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a nationally televised question-and-answer session, in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014.

Edward Snowden called in to ask Putin, a former KGB agent, a question: "Does Russia intercept/store communications in any way of millions of individuals?" Here's Putin: "Dear Mr. Snowden: You, a former agent, [know what] I had to do with intelligence. So I'll talk to you in the professional language. First of all, we have strict legal regulation of the use of special services of special funds, including wiretaps and surveillance on the Internet. This regulation is associated with the need to obtain permission from a court in respect of a particular individual. So massive, indiscriminate surveillance, in accordance with the law, can not happen."

Putin on "Acquiring Alaska"
In a bizarre moment of humor (we hope), Putin was asked if he had any plans to "acquire Alaska," the 49th US state. "What would you need Alaska for?" Putin asked, reminding viewers that even though Russia had sold off Alaska on the cheap back in the 19th century, the region was too cold for his liking. "We live in a northern country, 70 percent of our territory is in the north," Putin said. "Alaska's also the north. So let's not get excited." Phew.

Putin on Russian Forces in Crimea

Residents of Sevastopol and the Black Sea fleet sailors watch a televised call-in show with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sevastopol, Crimea, Thursday, April 17, 2014.

"We didn't do it by force," Putin said of the annexation of the peninsula of Crimea. The decision was made by residents of Crimea itself. Russia responded to that call, and welcomed Crimea into our family," Putin said on Thursday. "Our servicemen stood behind the back of Crimea's self-defense forces. They acted politely, but resolutely and professionally ... Russia has never planned any annexations, no military action in the Crimea, never."

Putin on Russian Forces in Eastern Ukraine
"It's all nonsense, there are no special units, special forces or instructors in the east of Ukraine." They are locals, he said, and "they have nowhere else to go, they are masters of their land." Of the Ukrainian military vehicles being sent from Kiev to the region, Putin asked, "Who are you going to use it against? Have you completely lost your marbles?" Still, Putin expressed his country's right to use force in the region. “I remind you that the Federation Council has given the president the right to use armed forces in Ukraine,” he said, referencing the Russian government's parliament. “I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that by political and diplomatic means we will be able to solve all of the sharp problems.”

Putin on Compromise in "New Russia"
“Can a compromise be found on the Ukrainian question between Russia and America?" Putin asked. "Compromise should only be found in Ukraine," he said, according to The New York Times. "The question is to ensure the rights and interests of the Russian southeast. It’s new Russia. Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in Czarist times, they were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows. Then for various reasons these areas were gone, and the people stayed there — we need to encourage them to find a solution.”

Putin on Ukraine's Former President Yanukovych's Fleeing the Country
"Mr. Yanukovych did not flee. He was on a regional trip while power was taken over in Kiev in breach of a signed agreement." Putin says the former president had agreed to resign from power and hold elections in December, but that Kiev reneged on the deal. "Basically, it was already agreed," he said. "But no, as soon as Yanukovych gave the Ministry of Internal Affairs division of the capital, they immediately went ahead and seized the administration building. It was a coup in the classical sense of the word."

Putin on Yulia Tymoshenko
"Ms. Tymoshenko, I personally know her well, though, and [her] calls to shoot Russians with nuclear weapons I think was said most likely during some emotional breakdown." Putin is referring to a leaked tape where Tymoshenko, who is running for president of Ukraine, allegedly said Russians should be killed with "nuclear weapons."
Here's the full clip, compliments of, if you'd like to settle in for four hours of entertainment.

Editor's note: Some of Putin's translations were taken from RIA Novosti's live coverage of the event.