Putin’s Annual Q & A Tour de Force
by Stephen Lendman
Putin’s annual marathon straight talk Q & A session, responding forthrightly to questions posed, is polar opposite Obama’s double talk.
It ended while this was being written. I contacted one of the Russian broadcasters asking if I could participate – ask President Putin a question in English and get his answer in Russian (later translated) live on air, televised nationwide.
I got a reply acknowledging my request, heard nothing further about communicating directly with a man I call the world’s preeminent leader.
I asked too late. He was well along in his session when I emailed. He’s always swamped with questions at annual Q &As, tries covering as much ground as possible relating to vital domestic and geopolitical issues.
It was his 14th annual televised session, lasting nearly three-and-three-fourths hours, answering about eight dozen questions from around two million submitted, according to Tass.
Asked about Russia’s weak economy – from low oil prices, sanctions and overall global weakness, he said “(i)t’s going through a gray period.”
“(D)ifficulties have not completely faded yet,” weakness to continue through yearend, modest growth to resume next year.
At the same time, Russia maintains a trade surplus, “mak(ing) more than we spend,” Putin explained. Reserves recovered to their early 2014 level.
Despite major successes fighting terrorism in Syria still ongoing, he said operations revealed “drawbacks,” being evaluated by experts to correct.
He blasted Turkey’s Erdogan, citing his complicity with terrorists, not combatting them, and stressing his war on regional Kurds while “the international community pretends not to notice…”
He warned Obama against attacking Syria the way he ravaged Libya, accusing Washington of “act(ing) from the position of force and imperial ambitions…”
He urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to settle their differences over Nagorno-Karabakh diplomatically.
He criticized US installed Ukrainian oligarch president Poroshenko for breaching Minsk ceasefire terms agreed on. He stopped short of calling its crisis and dysfunctional economy made in the USA.
Illegal sanctions imposed on Russia won’t be lifted soon, he believes. Russia will maintain its own in response.
Lawyers, not journalists, were involved in the Panama Papers leak, he said. Goldman Sachs owned German broadsheet Suddeutsche Zeitung released them.
Swiss banking whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld thinks CIA dirty hands were involved. He said many names revealed were from countries with strained US ties, notably Russia and China.
Asked who he prefers between Trump and Clinton, he discretely indicated no preference.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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