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Vladimir Putin first interview: about working with Mitt Romney and Pussy Riot controversy


Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted he will still be able to work with Mitt Romney if he’s elected U.S. president despite him calling Russia the “number one geopolitical foe”.

Vladimir Putin made the remark about Mitt Romney during yesterday interview on the Kremlin-funded Russia Today TV channel.

The president said: “We’ll work with whichever president is elected by the American people. But our effort will be only as efficient as our partners will want it to be.”

Vladimir Putin expressed concern about how a Romney presidency would affect the two countries’ long-running dispute over U.S.-led NATO plans to place elements of a missile-defense system in Europe. Russia contends the system could undermine its own defenses.

Vladimir Putin expressed concern about how a Romney presidency would affect their countries long-running dispute over NATO plans

Vladimir Putin expressed concern about how a Romney presidency would affect their countries long-running dispute over NATO plans

He added that if Mitt Romney is elected “the missile defense system will definitely be directed against Russia”.

The wide-ranging interview showed Vladimir Putin’s acerbic and combative side, particularly on the issue of the two-year prison sentence imposed last month on three members of the provocateur band Pussy Riot for their “punk prayer” prank in Moscow’s main cathedral entreating the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Putin.

Their conviction brought widespread criticism of Russia for stifling opposition and free speech.

Vladimir Putin briefly sparred with the English-speaking interviewer over how the band’s name could be translated into Russian, declaring: “I think you wouldn’t do it because it sounds too obscene, even in English.”

He also vigorously defended Russia’s stance on the escalating civil war in Syria.

Russia has come under strong criticism in the West for blocking U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which is fighting an increasingly vigorous armed opposition.


Activists now put the death toll from the uprising that began in March 2011 at between 23,000 and 26,000.

Russia has said its policy is not aimed at supporting Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin in the interview gave strong indication that Moscow may have written off the Syrian leader.

“We realize that this country needs a change,” he said.

“But this doesn’t mean that change should come with bloodshed.”

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