Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia had no claims for the title of a superpower. At the same time, it is wrong to call Russia a regional power. According to Putin, one may say such things to prove their own exceptionalism.
"First of all, we do not claim the status of a superpower. It is very expensive and useless. We are ranked fifth or sixth in the world in economic terms. Our position may have changed a bit due to economic difficulties, but we do know that we have very good prospects and potential for development. In terms of the purchasing power parity, this is somewhere near the sixth place," Putin said in a recent interview with Bild.
Referring to Obama's description of Russia as a "regional power," Putin wondered what region exactly the US president had in mind when he said so.
"One needs to look at a map and say what region it is exactly. Is it the European part? Or is it the Asian part, where we are neighbors to Japan and the United States, Alaska? Is it the Asian part, near China, or the southern part? Look to the north, where we are neighbors to Canada through the Arctic Ocean. Is it the south? What region is it exactly? I think that discussing other countries, attempts to discuss other countries in a derogatory fashion is an attempt to prove one's exceptionalism," Putin said.
Russia will continue developing democratic institutions inside the country for the people to feel that the authorities respond to their demands, said President Vladimir Putin.
"I guess that we have a lot of problems to make people believe that they can show real influence on the authorities, to make them believe that the authorities respond to their needs. We will work hard to improve our tools," Putin said in a recent interview with Bild.
According to Putin, "the ruling classes talk about freedom to mislead those whom they govern."
Putin said that it was a humiliating move for Turkey to seek NATO'a protection after the incident with the Russian Su-24 jet.
"The Turkish administration, instead of trying to talk to Russia about the committed war crime, after they shot down our military bomber that was striking terrorists, rushed to NATO headquarters to seek protection there.
Putin noted that the shoot-down of the Russian aircraft was in no way connected with Turkey's membership in NATO.
In the event of any threats to national security, Russia will use all means available to eliminate such threats, Putin said. He expressed a hope that this would not happen.
"I repeat once again: NATO must defend its members against attacks on them, but no one is attacking Turkey. If Turkey has interests somewhere in the world, in nearby states, does it mean that NATO must protect and promote these interests or what? Does it mean that such a NATO member as Germany, for example, should help Turkey conquer other countries, or what?" Putin wondered.
He set out a hope that "such incidents will not result in any large-scale confrontations. But of course, we all understand that Russia will be defending the interests of its security with all possible and available means should threats appear."
Putin also commented on the possibility to grant political asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Russia.
"You know, I think it is too early to discuss that. We have granted asylum to Mr. Snowden, and it was more difficult to do," Putin said.
According to him, if Syrian elections are held in a democratic way in 2017, Assad will not need to go anywhere."
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