Germany’s leading newspaper Bild has published an exclusive interview with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. On January 5th in Sochi, Vladimir Putin, Kai Diekmann, Publisher at BILD, and Nikolaus Blome, Editor in Chief, discussed the Kremlin’s relationship with Germany, tensions with the NATO alliance, and the common threat of terrorism Russia shares with the West.
“We do not claim the Role of a Superpower. It is very expensive and useless,” Putin told the German edition of Bild (Parts 1 and 2 of the interview see below), commenting on Barack Obama’s speech on the regional status of Russia. The Russian leader did not agree with the statement of the White House. According to Putin, first you need to decide which region you are talking about. “Of course, every head of state and government in the world is allowed to have his opinion and to voice it. Barack Obama also says America is the “chosen nation”. I do not take that seriously, either”, Putin said.
If we talk about Russia’s geopolitical location and influence, Putin recommend: “… look at a map of the world. In the West, our region is Europe. In the East, Japan and the USA with Alaska are our neighbors. In the North, we share a border with Canada over the Arctic Ocean. If you want to lower the significance of Russia in the world, you actually just want to elevate your own country. That is a mistake.”
Asked about the US and EU sanctions, the President said that the population of Russia understands what’s going on. “The Russian population is absolutely clear about the situation. Napoleon once said that justice is the incarnation of God on Earth. I’m telling you: the reunification of Crimea and Russia is just. The West’s sanctions are not aimed at helping Ukraine, but at geo-politically pushing Russia back. They are foolish and are merely harming both sides”, Putin told reporters. He agreed that Russia is experiencing economic difficulties, but refused to regard them as too serious. “We are currently gradually stabilizing our economy. Last year, the gross domestic product had dropped by 3.8%. Inflation is approximately 12.7%. The trade balance, however, is still positive. For the first time in many years, we are exporting significantly more goods with a high added value”, said the President, recalling that Russia has saved $300 billion in gold reserves.President Barack Obama Russia Vladimir Putin