8 Jun 2015

Vladimir Putin: “I invite you to publish a world map and mark all the U.S. military bases on it. You will see the difference (between Russia and the U.S.).”

It’s almost two o’clock in the morning when we get to the end of the interview. Vladimir Putin responded to our questions for just shy of two hours. “Mr. President—asks the editor of Corriere della Sera, Luciano Fontana—is there one thing that you regret more than anything in your life, which you consider an error that you would never again want to repeat?” The Russian president adjusts himself in his chair, and his eyes suddenly seem to sparkle. He remains silent for a few seconds, and then in his thin voice he says softly: “I will be quite frank with you. I cannot recollect anything of the kind. By the grace of God, I have nothing to regret in my life.”
After more than fifteen years leading Russia as President or Prime Minister, after 5,538 days in power, Vladimir Putin does not regret anything. Two girls on the presidential staff welcomed us at the entrance of the Spasskaya Tower, in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral, escorting us inside the walls of the Kremlin to the Palace of the Senate, where Putin’s office is located. The location prepared for the interview was the Predstavitelskij Zal, the same boardroom where Putin received Matteo Renzi in March. It is an oval-shaped space, the walls a pale green, the ceiling domed, the decorations in white stucco and gold. Niches at the corners, the bronze statues of four Russian emperors dominate the scene: Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Alexander II and Nicholas I. Initially scheduled for 7:00 PM, the beginning of the interview has slipped by hours. Finally, at 11:30 PM, spokesman Dmitry Peshkov arrived. He apologized for the delay, which he attributed to government commitments and told us that the President was ready. Vladimir Putin entered the door in the back. Blue suit, blue shirt, blue tie with printed patterns, cool despite the hour, his face perhaps a bit too polished. He greeted us kindly. Then he invited us to sit. 




This is the full transcript of Corriere della Sera’s interview with Vladimir Putin

Luciano Fontana
: I would like to start with a question concerning Russian-Italian relations. This relationship has always been close and privileged, both in the economic and political spheres. However, it has been somewhat marred by the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions. Could the recent visit by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to Russia and your upcoming visit to Milan somehow change this trend, and if so, what is needed for that?
Vladimir Putin: First, I firmly believe that Russia was not responsible for the deterioration in relations between our country and the EU states. This was not our choice; it was dictated to us by our partners. It was not we who introduced restrictions on trade and economic activities. Rather, we were the target and we had to respond with retaliatory, protective measures.
But the relationship between Russia and Italy has, indeed, always been privileged, both in politics and the economy. For instance, in recent years, that is, in the last couple of years, trade between our countries increased eleven fold, from what I believe was $4.2 billion – we make calculations in US dollars – to over $48 billion, nearly $49 billion.
There are 400 Italian companies operating in Russia. We are cooperating actively in the energy sector, in an array of fields. Italy is the third largest consumer of our energy resources. We also have many joint high technology projects: in the space and aircraft industries, and in many other sectors. Russian regions are working very closely with Italy. Last year, almost a million Russian tourists, about 900,000, visited Italy. And while there, they spent over a billion euro.
We have always enjoyed trust-based relations in the political sphere as well. The establishment of the Russia-NATO Council was Italy’s initiative – Silvio Berlusconi was Prime Minister at the time. This advisory working body no doubt became an important factor of security in Europe. In this regard, Italy has always contributed greatly to the development of the dialogue between Russia and Europe, and NATO as a whole. Not to mention our special cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
All this, of course, lays the foundation for a special relationship between our countries. And the incumbent Prime Minister’s visit to Russia sent a very important message showing that Italy is willing to develop these relations. It is only natural that this does not go unnoticed either by the Government of the Russian Federation or by the public.
We are, of course, ready to reciprocate and go further in expanding our cooperation as long as our Italian partners are willing to do the same. I hope that my upcoming visit to Milan will help in this respect.
Luciano Fontana: You have known several chairmen of the Italian Council of Ministers – Romano Prodi, Silvio Berlusconi, Massimo D’Alema, Giuliano Amato, Enrico Letta and now Matteo Renzi. With whom did you find that you understood each other best? And how much, in your opinion, does the existence of a personal relationship – like the one you had with Silvio Berlusconi – contribute to good relations between countries?
Vladimir Putin: No matter what posts we occupy or what our jobs are, we are still human, and personal trust is certainly a very important factor in our work, in building relations on the interstate level. One of the people you have just mentioned once told me, “You must be the only person (meaning I was the only person) – who has a friendly relationship with both Berlusconi and Prodi.” I can tell you that it was not difficult for me, I still don’t find it difficult, and I can tell you why. My Italian partners have always put the interests of Italy, of the Italian people, first and believed that in order to serve the interests of their country, including economic and political interests, they must maintain friendly relations with Russia. We have always understood and felt that.

1 comment:

  1. zionist america and zionist israel are the true terrorists of the world today.

    ReplyDelete