Russia’s Putin Discusses Presidential Run in Nationally Televised Interview

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin has appeared in a nationally televised interview to explain why he is trying for a controversial third term as the country's president.

In the interview, broadcast Monday on Russia's three main TV networks, Putin made a rare admission of the public's discontent with the current situation in the country. He said Russia is still fragile 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that the country's politics and economy are “tacked together.”

Last month, Mr Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev unveiled a plan to swap jobs next year. The plan depends on Mr. Medvedev leading the ruling United Russia party to victory in parliamentary elections on December 4. Then, Mr. Putin would have to win presidential elections in March.

If he completes a third term, Mr. Putin will have led Russia for 24 years, longer than the 17 years Leonid Brezhnev held the top job in the Soviet Union. But he denied critics' suggestions that his being in office for a third term would lead the country back to the stagnation of the final years of the Brezhnev administration.

Asked about his reputation as a hard-liner with Western countries, Mr. Putin said he opposes such cliches. The prime minister called for a balanced foreign policy and “friendly relations” with Russia's partners and promised voters there will be “no abrupt changes” in Russian policies.