Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin begins to make everyone believe that he is going to stay in the Kremlin for a long time. It appears that Putin is certain that he is going to win the elections and then retain presidency for two terms. Putin spoke about the package of reforms which Russia is going to run for 15 years. He also announced that Russia's relations with Ukraine were better than ever and said that the European Union reminded him a hamster that stuffed its cheeks with food.
Speaking about Russia's current relations with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said that Moscow invites Kiev to join the Eurasian Union. "Let Ukraine watch and think," Putin said at the meeting with leading scientists of politics, members of Valdai international debate club.
Putin complimented the sitting Ukrainian administration. "He emphasized that he was on very good terms with the Ukrainian administration. He said that the relations with Ukraine were better than ever before. He also said that Ukraine should think about its position adequately and join the Eurasian Union, which will be the right decision for the country to make," Alexander Rahr, an expert with the German Council on Foreign Relations said.
The Eurasian Union is to be established in December of this year, on the threshold of the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR. Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will sign the adequate treaty.
Putin was very ironic when speaking about the crisis in the European Union. The prime minister compared the EU to a small rodent. According to him, the EU is like a hamster that stuffed too much food (member states) in its cheeks. The European Union is unable to handle its new members, which became one of the main reasons for the current crisis in Europe.
Alexander Rahr also said that Putin was in good shape on the threshold of his new presidency. He looks great and is ready to struggle, the expert said.
"Putin is in good shape. It's clear that he wants to go back to power to continue his historical mission - he sees himself as a historical figure. He rejected all the risks that we forecast for the future development of Russia and reminded that it was him who pulled Russia out of swamp," Rahr said
If we look back at the Russia which Putin received from Yeltsin, it will be hard not to share the prime minister's opinion at least to a certain extent. One may not say that Putin has turned Russia into paradise during his two presidential terms, of course. However, he put an end to the chaos of the 1990s, finished the war in the Caucasus and raised the living standard in the country.
Communicating with the members of Valdai Club, Putin shared his thoughts about the future reforms in the country. The plan of the reforms was developed for 15 years. This is a very long period of time. Even if we assume that Putin wins the forthcoming presidential election and becomes the winner of the next vote (in 2018), the maximum that he can hope for is 12 years of rule.
At least, Putin gave to understand that he would stay in sober mind. The meeting with the scientists of politics took place in a fancy restaurant. However, Putin did not touch his glass during the conversation. In the very beginning of the meeting, Putin saw the guests eating pickled cucumbers. This is a traditional vodka snack in Russia. However, there was no vodka on the table. "Have you offered vodka to our guests? You should have served some at first," Putin told waiters. Vodka appeared on the table in a minute.
No one took a shot, though. Putin did not touch alcohol during the meeting; he did not raise a toast either. As for food, he only ate some berries.
"We didn't drink anything. So we assumed that something began to change in Russia now," Alexander Rahr said.
Putin has never been a fan of alcohol beverages. He just wanted to have some berries. One should not make any fundamental conclusions from it.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decorated soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the line of contact in Bakhmut (the Russian name of the city is Artemovsk)