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By John Helmer, Moscow

To introduce himself to the international financial markets, ahead of his arrival in Osaka for the G20 summit meetings, President Vladimir Putin has given an interview to the Financial Times, a Japan-owned, England-based newspaper. The publication has headlined its report: “Vladimir Putin has trumpeted the growth of national populist movements in Europe and America, crowing that liberalism is spent as an ideological force.” Putin’s remarks, according to the newspaper, are fresh evidence of Russian interference in the elections of the US and Europe… As the de facto ruler of Russia for almost two decades, Mr Putin, 66, has been regularly accused of covertly supporting populist movements through financial aid and social media, notably in the 2016 US presidential election, the Brexit referendum and the recent European Parliament elections.”

The full transcript, published overnight by the Kremlin,   is a more accurate reflection of Putin’s views. Read the excerpts which the FT hasn’t found fit to quote.
Centre: President Vladimir Putin. Left: FT editor Lionel Barber, displaying blackened fingernails after Kremlin torture. Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/

Class conflict in the US: “China has made use of globalisation, in particular, to pull millions of Chinese out of poverty.  What happened in the United States, and how did it happen? In the United States, the leading US companies – the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners – made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefitted from globalisation. The take-home pay in the US (we are likely to talk later about real incomes in Russia, which need special attention from the Government). The middle class in the United States has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign… What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the United States? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.”

Class conflict in Russia: “[FT:]  The Central Bank has done a very good job in helping to secure macroeconomic stability even if some of the oligarchs complain about banks being closed. Vladimir Putin: You know, first of all, we do not have oligarchs anymore. Oligarchs are those who use their proximity to the authorities to receive super profits. We have large companies, private ones, or with government participation. But I do not know of any large companies that get preferential treatment from being close to the authorities, these are practically non-existent.”

On June 24 RT broadcast its first interview with Arkady Rotenberg, sanctioned by the US for being one of the oligarchs profiting from preferential treatment by the President. Rotenberg’s Russian language displays the full range of his managerial skills and intellectual capabilities. Source: https://www.youtube.com/ For details of his non-preferential access to the state budget, read this

God and atheism: “Have we forgotten that all of us live in a world based on Biblical values? Even atheists and everyone else live in this world. We do not have to think about this every day, attend church and pray, thereby showing that we are devout Christians or Muslims or Jews. However, deep inside, there must be some fundamental human rules and moral values. In this sense, traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist. [FT:]  So religion, religion is not the opium of the masses? Vladimir Putin: No, it is not.”

The General Staff in war-making: “I discussed this matter [war in Syria] with my aides and ministers, including those in charge of law enforcement agencies and other senior officials.”

Before President Putin met with the FT, he presided at the annual reception for cadets graduating from the military schools. Left, Chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, and Defence Minister  Sergei Shoigu. Right: cadets and officers at the toast. The President said:  “The Kinzhal hypersonic missile system, the Peresvet laser system, the Sarmat heavy ICBM, the Poseidon underwater drone, our unlimited range cruise missile with its Burevestnik nuclear propulsion system and other state-of-the-art hardware will be supplied to the troops in the next few years. Talent, boldness and courage, relentless work by hundreds of workers, engineers and designers are embodied in these weapons, and they must be in reliable and skillful hands. Your duty is to learn to use these weapons properly.” Source: http://en.kremlin.ru/

The Skripal case:  “[FT:] Some people might say that a human life is worth more than five pennies. But do you believe, Mr President that whatever happened…Vladimir Putin: Did anybody die? [FT] Oh yes. The gentleman who had a drug problem and he died after touching the Novichok in the car park. I mean somebody did that because of the perfume. It was more than one person that died, not the Skripals. I am just…Vladimir Putin: And you think this is absolutely Russia’s fault? [FT:] I did not say that. I said somebody died. Vladimir Putin: You did not say that, but if it has nothing to do with Russia… Yes, a man died, and that is a tragedy, I agree. But what do we have to do with it?”

Left: the man who did not die at the waste bin nowhere near a car park, at which a poisoned perfume bottle may have been found.  Right: The woman who did die from a cause the Wiltshire coroner’s inquest has refused to identify. Read more: http://johnhelmer.net/wiltshire-coroner- and http://johnhelmer.net/novichok-full-o-nuts-

Leadership:  “[FT:] You have seen many world leaders. Who do you most admire? Vladimir Putin: Peter the Great. [FT:] But he is dead. Vladimir Putin: He will live as long as his cause is alive just as the cause of each of us. (Laughter). We will live until our cause is alive. If you mean any present-day leaders from different countries and states, of the persons that I could communicate with, I was most seriously impressed by former President of France Mr Chirac. He is a true intellectual, a real professor, a very level-headed man as well as very interesting. When he was President, he had his own opinion on every issue, he knew how to defend it and he always respected his partners’ opinions.”

Power-sharing: “[FT:] I would be very grateful if you could talk a bit about how you have seen the world change over the last 20 years while you have been in power. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: First, I have not been in power for all these 20 years. As you may know, I was Prime Minister for four years, and that is not the highest authority in the Russian Federation.”

Succession:  “[FT:]  So the choice will be approved by the Russian people in a vote? Or through the Duma?  Vladimir Putin: Why through the Duma? By means of direct secret ballot, universal direct secret ballot. Of course, it is different from what you have in Great Britain. We are a democratic country. (Laughter) In your country, one leader has left, and the second leader, who is for all intents and purposes the top figure in the state, is not elected by a direct vote of the people, but by the ruling party. It is different in Russia, as we are a democratic country. If our top officials leave for some reason, because they want to retire from politics like Boris Yeltsin, or because their term ends, we hold an election through universal direct secret ballot.”

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