We Are Strong Because We are Right [Putin]

In the TASS special project Top Officials, Vladimir Putin talks about healthy lifestyle, the “fifth column” and oil prices “plot” and argues with Russian philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev

On health, wrong statement and the other side of the coin

– What’s your health status now, Vladimir Vladimirovich?

– All worries are in foes’ dreams!

– The foes are making hints…

– Really? It’s the first time I hear about it. What are they saying? Just fantasying?

– I won’t retell it to you. As a matter of fact, I’ve come to the firsthand source.

– Let them think this way. It’ll make them relaxed and will bring us benefits, too.

– But this isn’t idle curiosity, you know. The country’s health depends on your physical, moral and psychological condition. In a way…

– Do they call into question my bodily or psychic status?

– Their assumptions differ.

– I’m OK, all’s fine… And what sport are you doing?

– No sport for quite some time. Only sports on TV.

– That’s bad. No, TV surfing is no sport… And work requires certain energy, strength and physical activity.

– But why did you ask about it? Just because you…

– I do sports regularly.

– On a daily basis?

– Exactly. Absolutely on a daily basis. Frankly, though, I stopped doing it during trips. When the flight is long and the time difference is big you don’t sleep yourself out…

– By the way, do you adapt easily to local time zones or do you live by the Moscow time?

– I don’t adapt well. And when you’ve gotten adapted, it’s time to return home… Therefore, I try to live mainly by the Moscow time but long trips make it impossible, of course.

– Let’s go back to the issue I started with. Vyacheslav Volodin (first deputy chief of the presidential staff) said at the Valdai Forum, “No Putin, no Russia.” But you later said that the statement was absolutely wrong.

– Yes.

If a person thinks of essence and results of his work, as well as interests of people, then even a mistake does not look so terrible – But this was a formula having a particular connotation, nowadays at least. Many people inside and outside of the country associate Russia with you personally.

– I think that’s natural. The head of state, person number one in a nation is always associated with his country in one way or another. And not only in Russia. The individual is elected by direct secret balloting, people have delegated him certain powers, he is charged with conducting policy on people’s behalf. And, of course, the nation expects a definite conduct from its leader. The voters proceed from the assumption that they elected the head of state and trusted him and he will meet their expectations, defend their interests and struggle to improve their living in the economy, in the social sphere, in the international arena, and in the matters of security. There are many tasks. There is nothing unusual or anything specifically Russian in the fact associations of the kind spring up.

– Still very few leaders can boast the popularity ratings you have.

– That’s true but the problem is you’ll be unable to work if you think about ratings all the time. The worst thing of all is to get enslaved by contemplation of one’s ratings. As soon as someone starts doing it, he immediately turns into a loser. Instead of engaging in real business and moving forward with no fear of stumbling along the way, one who thinks about ratings abandons all activity. Then the rating begins a downhill slide. Vice versa, if a person thinks of the essence and results of his work, as well as the interests of the people, then even a mistake does not look so terrible. And he can speak of it straightforwardly and confess his blunder. And you know, this won’t affect the rating much, people will understand perfectly well the true intensions, sincerity and honesty, and especially, a direct dialogue. It is really valuable and people will always appreciate it.

Infographics Vladimir Putin's approval raitings in 2014 Vladimir Putin’s approval raitings in 2014

Level of Russian citizens’ approval of President Vladimir Putin. Infographics by TASS

– But still, when the level of support exceeds 80 percent after 15 years in power… This is both obvious and incredible.– I’ve already said that I feel myself a part of Russia. It’s more than just love. Each of us can speak of loving his Motherland. We all love it but I really feel being part of our people and I can’t imagine for a second living outside Russia.

Getting the support of compatriots for a long time, one cannot but make every effort to justify their trust. Quite possibly, that’s the key principle and groundwork for relations between the people and the leaders whom they elect.

– But every coin has two sides. At a certain period, all achievements are linked to the leader but as time change, all the misfortunes may also be ascribed to him.

– Sure thing.

– And what’s next?

– As the saying goes, once you pledge, don’t hedge. One has to work.

– We see that Uralvagonzavod (Russia’s main manufacturer of tanks) is with you.

– It’s not one or another enterprise that matters.

The worst thing of all is to get enslaved by contemplation of one’s ratings – It’s a collective image.

– People who declared their position openly and put forward certain initiative appeared at Uralvagonzavod at some point. But were the enterprises few in number that got the assistance of the government that I headed during the crisis in 2008? The problem was actually bigger than our help or the system of effective measures, which we had devised and implemented. The Russian government and your most obedient servant never shunned responsibility. In late 2008, at one of the United Russia party’s public events I recalled the crisis of 1998 and said baldly, “We won’t admit it ever again, take my word!” This was a very risky statement. Putting responsibility of this kind on oneself without knowing all the components of the new crisis and controlling all the instruments that had sparked it and were developing it… But it was extremely important at that time to give members of the cabinet, administrative crews in the regions and, most importantly, the man in the street the feeling that the Russian leadership understood the situation and assessed it appropriately and had the clues to what was to be done. In such cases this is even more important than concrete actions. But our actions, too, were quite adequate to the state of things at the moment.

On Uralvagonzavod, the “fifth column,” “death-active” movies and monarchy

On renaming streets, the Ukrainian passport and oil prices plot

On Forbes list, corruption level and about who steals from whom

On friends, offences, attempts to sow discord and discomfort

On loneliness, daughters, personal environment and ability to say “No”

On low sense of danger, mistakes, opposite lane driving and philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev

On God, the absence of secret desires and the year of 2018

One year after Maidan, Ukraine turns into Nazi, US-obedient puppet state

One year after Maidan, Ukraine turns into Nazi, US-obedient puppet state. 53997.jpeg

Maidan in Ukraine started a year ago. Now is time to look back and see how it started and what it led to. Pravda.Ru interviewed the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Natalia Vitrenko, about the events which marked the beginning of the civil war, the social and economic disaster and the collapse of Ukraine.

“One year after Maidan, what, in your opinion, were the aspirations of the Ukrainian people, who toppled Yanukovych? What are the results of the Ukrainian revolution? Has anything been done?”

“The fact is that the people were called to come to Maidan. Large protests started on November 23, 2013, when people demanded Yanukovych should sign the association agreement with the EU. Before November 2013, the Party of Regions together with Communists and the Litvin Bloc had the majority in the parliament. For 2.5 years, those parties were maintaining public psychosis in the country about the need to join the European integration. They were the prime initiators of the European integration. On 1 July 2010, they adopted the law about the foundations of domestic and foreign policy. Article 11 of the law said that Ukraine would be integrated into European space, that the goal of Ukraine was to become a EU member.

“The administration of President Yanukovych, above all, the head of administration, Sergei Levochkin, was monitoring the situation on television. They did not allow hosts on the country’s most popular talk shows who would advocate for a different course for Ukraine – the course for integration with Russia. The research on Ukraine’s integration into the Customs Union showed excellent prospects for Ukraine. I myself was making those calculations – two respectable economic institutions were working on that – the Russian and the Ukrainian academies of sciences engaged. The calculations convincingly showed all benefits from the integration of Ukraine in the East.

“As for calculations of benefits from Ukraine’s integration into the European Union, no one has seen them. Without any arguments, they would be broadcasting psychosis from morning till night on all radio and TV channels. And, of course, the orange associations – the Tymoshenko bloc and Our Ukraine – would only nod to the majority of deputies. They had been doing this since 2010.

“Russia was watching all that favorably. United Russia had cross-party co-operation agreements with the Party of Regions, the Communist Party. Russia was showing absolutely no impact outhouse political forces. We were fighting against the policy of European integration, but all were pulling Ukraine into Europe. Our party and several others would be subjected to obstruction, because we were defending and defend a completely different vector of integration.

Suddenly, on November 21, Azarov’s government decided to suspend the signing of the association agreement. I knew that the decision was taken after the government and the president were introduced to calculations of the economic disaster in Ukraine, about the inevitability of default, in case Ukraine had signed the agreement on association. Ukraine has nothing to enter the free trade zone with the EU. Ukrainian products are uncompetitive on the European market. When the government made that decision on November 21, it produced a shock in the camp. Two days later, opponents came to their senses and called people to gather on Maidan.

“Kiev residents came, students came, people from Western Ukraine were brought too, who understand nothing, but can frantically yell that all they need is Europe. Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, Tyagnibok and Poroshenko started flaming Maidan up. They showered people with promises that Ukraine would receive unprecedented benefits from the association with Europe, that Ukraine would be a civilized European country, where all rights and freedoms would be ensured and guaranteed. That means a sharp rise in wages, pensions and social benefits in accordance with all European standards.

“The people, of course, succumbed to that pressure. Imagine that they have been listening to all that propaganda for 2.5 years, and then Maidan confirmed all that too. Therefore, most people in Ukraine believeв that Ukraine must sign this agreement. They assumed that Yanukovych would be their prime enemy, if he refused to sign the agreement.

On November 29, when it became clear that Yanukovych did not sign it, Yatsenyuk, Tyagnibok and Klitschko were ready to dissolve Maidan because they were confused. They thought think that their pressure would be decisive. Nevertheless, Yanukovych did not sign the papers. After they returned from Brussels, they gathered on Maidan and announced that everyone should go home for the time being.

They started to remove the stage and the sound equipment, when the second scenario started working. Later it became known that this scenario had been prepared in advance by the presidential administration. The scenario was about the use of Berkut fighters to put up a New Year tree, but they use well-prepared militants to attack Berkut fighters. As a result, the protesters clashed with Berkut. At night, all national TV channels of Ukraine were filming all that on the square. They were filming the episodes that would be very good for the USA, as the entire scenario had been agreed with Washington and Brussels. At first, all instructions were coming from the US Embassy in Ukraine.

“They were filming how Berkut fighters were beating students, children, but they did not show how the protesters were throwing rocks at Berkut soldiers, how they would set soldiers ablaze. On the basis of this footage that produced a bombshell effect, people started coming to Maidan. On December 1, a massacre occurred on Bankovaya Street. There were militants wielding chains, bats, Molotov cocktails and boulders. Militants started taking administrative buildings in Kiev. Nineteen administrative buildings were seized, the center of Kiev was seized too.

The capital was paralyzed. But Yanukovych was instructed not to touch the peaceful protesters, as they said. The West wanted to see the resistance growing.  It was growing in waves, because Maidan did not have the support of the majority of the people. On January 19, militants attacked the Berkut fighters, who were defending the government quarter. Car tires were burning in the street, on European Square and Kreshchatik Street.

Maidan was ideologized, it was a Russophobian, Nazi Maidan that was rigidly following the direction against Russia. For Ukrainians, Russia is the enemy, “Glory to the nation, the death to the enemy” – that was the directive. This hatred was infecting more and more people.

Anti-Maidan could not oppose anything. As a result, on February 18, the Verkhovna Rada was attacked. On February 20, they were already armed. Maidan activists obtained weapons after they captured military and police arms caches.

“On February 21, Yanukovych signed an agreement with Maidan leaders. Three Foreign Ministers of European countries: Germany, France and Poland acted as  guarantors of the agreement. I listened to the press conference of the German Minister for Foreign Affairs with his Russian counterpart Lavrov. He looked disgraceful. When he was asked why he did not observe the execution of that agreement, he suddenly said that it was because Yanukovych had fled the country. What did Yanukovych have to do with it? To hell with him, I am sorry about the country and the people.

“The agreement stipulated for the disarmament of all illegal armed groups and the creation of the government of national consent. Nothing was done. As a result of the armed neo-Nazi putsch, the new government was formed. MPs were mocked and humiliated, and the Parliament was eventually reformatted and start serving the neo-Nazi coup. In violation of the Ukrainian constitution, Yanukovych was suspended from power, and the parliament speaker was given an opportunity to become acting president.

“That is, they started doing what they wanted, and the US and EU were condoning that. They wanted that in Ukraine, they did it and got it. The only thing that they did not anticipate was the protest in the Crimea and in the Donbas. The Crimea saw the essence of this revolution, heard those slogans – “Muscovites on knives!” and realized that Ukraine would be for Ukrainians. Of course, they all went to the referendum and voted to pull out from that Ukraine. And then the Donbass rebelled against Kiev too. The people of Donbass identify themselves as members of the Russian world. They also understood that as long as Ukraine was going to be for Ukrainians, then they would be killed. They understood that Ukraine would be built into NATO.

If Ukraine was going to become Europe’s servant, it would break economic and industrial ties with Russia, and the Donbass would be left with nothing, because the Donbass was tied to Russia up whole.

Donbass realized that it was doomed either way. That is why the uprising began in the region. Ukraine faced a civil war. According to experts’ estimates, over 40 thousand people have been killed, including the rebels, the Ukrainian military and civilians. Two million refugees. Hundreds of thousands of wounded, shell-shocked … Many return from the zone of the so-called anti-terrorist operation to Ukraine as mentally ill individuals. Children are deeply traumatized. The gene pool of the nation was generally undermined. This is what Maidan has done to Ukraine.

“Where are their successes? They signed the association agreement, and it was ratified in September. Where is the money that Europe promised? 30-40 billion euros. Ukraine begged to receive $6 billion from the IMF and the World Bank, another 900 million euros came from Europe and that was it. Our people die. In hospitals, there are no medications, patients do not receive any food. Last week in Kiev, they stopped giving bread to patients. That’s what the United States and Europe have done. And, of course, they have put Ukraine in a position when the authorities are only interested in war. We are all sitting on a powder keg; every day we wait what provocation Ukraine would arrange to draw Russia into the war to start Third World War. The are the results of Maidan.

“According to President Poroshenko, the planned reforms, not less than 60, will embrace all areas of life, from public utilities to courts. Are there any reforms being conducted now?”

“They launched lustration. I do not know in which way it can relate to European values, when they fire people from jobs – specialists, professionals – they throw people in garbage cans. This is something barbarous, shameful, ape-like behaviour.  They unfold reforms and say that they will reduce the amount of taxes. How are they going to do that? Whose shoulders will carry the burden of these taxes? We can not expect anything good from this government, no reforms whatsoever, because it is oligarchs that rule Euromaidan. They fund volunteer battalions and the new parliament.

They do not worry about the fate of the people. They will enhance exploitation and amass their fortunes. This is the essence of their reforms. They say that they will start an education reform, but at the same time they zombify children with ideas of neo-Nazism. They plant seeds of hatred to other nations, civilizations, primarily Russia. They hammer into children’s heads the idea that Ukrainians originate from a super-ancient civilization. These reforms are a disaster for Ukraine.

“They allow to use the Russian language on the level of private, personal communication; they root it out from Ukraine. They will undoubtedly continue to struggle with dissent. Already today, the parties and movements that protect other ideology can not hold their own peaceful public actions. We could not take part in the elections, because we were openly threatened with violence, beatings and death. Ukraine is taking the shape of a Nazi state with totalitarian dictatorship – an ardent enemy of Russia and a very comfortable obedient puppet of the United States.”

“Why is there no progress in investigating high-profile cases?”

“Because for the current authorities, the truthful results on the investigation of the Boeing tragedy, shootings on Maidan and other cases would mean the end. After all, no matter how they try to hide it, all paths in those cases lead to him. Irrefutable facts show that Porubiy was commanding the snipers on Maidan. More than 80 people were killed at once at his command. When the people saw the dead bodies, it produced an immediate effect, and they went on a desperate attack on the government. That’s why they needed the snipers and deaths on Maidan. The downing of the Boeing was needed to shift the blame on Russia and the militia of the Donbass. But they failed.”

“A year ago, on Kiev Maidan, people were protesting and even dying for Europe. A few months after winning the “revolution of dignity,” Ukraine has not gotten any closer to Europe. On the contrary, Ukraine has slipped down to the level of Africa,” this is what TV presenter of a Lviv channel, Ostap Drozdov said. The average pension in Ukraine after the “revolution of dignity” makes up 50 euros. This is the level of Africa. Do you agree with this opinion?”

“I agree that after Maidan, Ukraine has gone decades and even centuries back. We now have the power of barbarians, who do not recognize the rule of law, who trample on the Constitution, violate laws, refuse to fulfill international obligations. Poroshenko’s decree from 4 November is a bright example of that. One should introduce international sanctions against Poroshenko’s Ukraine. Otherwise, it is impossible to bring to reason the man, whose power destroys all norms of law. But Europe is silent, the international community is silent under the thumb of the US – they are fine and satisfied with it. They are satisfied with the jungle in the middle of Europe, on the territory of Ukraine.”

Interviewed by Lyuba Lulko


Read the original in Russian 

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