Sunday, July 24, 2016

Vladimir Putin interviewed by Charlie Rose - Part 1 video + transcript

Charlie Rose Gains Emmy Nomination for Vladimir Putin Interview


Charlie Rose: Tonight Vladimir Putin. I went to Moscow on the weekend of September 18 for an exclusive interview with the President of Russia. The interview took place at the state residence outside of Moscow. It lasted for an hour and 40 minutes. It was shot by our crews at "60 Minutes". The President was conversational, responsive and he was expansive.
Vladimir Putin: We support the legitimate government of Syria.Furthermore it is my deep conviction that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions of the world, for instance in Libya where all the state institutions are disintegrated. 

We see a similar situation regrettably in Iraq and there's no other solution whatsoever to the Syrian crisis than the strengthening the existing legal government structures andrendering them help in fighting terrorism.

Charlie Rose: There were no ground rules or requests from President Putin or his staff. They only asked the interview be run on "60 Minutes" and then in its entirety on this program. After the interview concluded President Putin invited me and my "60 Minutes" colleagues for tea. Tea turned into appetizers and appetizers turned into dinner. 

During the next 90 minutes, we talk of many things about politics and life. Accompanying me on this trip to Moscow were my "60 Minutes" colleagues: executive producer Jeff Fager, producer Andy Court and associate producer Sarah Fitzpatrick. 

The "60 Minutes" interview aired last night on the 48th season premiere of "60 Minutes". Earlier today both President Obama and President Putin spoke at the United Nations. President Obama was first.
Barack Obama: When a dictator slaughters tens or thousands of his own people that's not just a matter of one nation's internal affairs. It breeds human suffering on an order of magnitude that affects us all. Yes, realism dictates a compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIS. But realism also requires a managed transition, away from Assad and to a new leader.
Charlie Rose: President Obama's speech was followed later by the speech of President Putin.
Vladimir Putin: We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces valiantly fighting terrorism face to face. We should find a way that no one but President Assad armed forces and (INAUDIBLE) are truly fighting the Islamic state and other terrorists organizations in Syria.
Charlie Rose: This afternoon the two men met at the United Nations to talk about their differences and their common purpose.
Unidentified Female: Russia's expanding military intervention in Syria left President Obama little choice but to sit down with Vladimir Putin for the first time in more than two years.
Charlie Rose: As I mentioned the interview with President Putin was for one hour and 40 minutes, a remarkable amount of time for a conversation with a head of state. Here is part one of the unedited conversation recorded on Sunday afternoon September 20th at a building near his residence outside Moscow. Part two will air tomorrow night. 

Our conversation with "60 Minutes" will be recorded and broadcast on Sunday.The next day you'll speak to the United Nations with a much anticipated address, the first time you've been there in a number of years. What will you say to the U.N., to America, to the world?
Vladimir Putin: As our interview will be broadcast before my address, I believe it's not wise to speak about everything that I am going to say but I'll give you the general outline. 

I'll recall the history of the United Nations. And what I can say is that the decision to create this organization was made here in our country. In fact at the Yalta Conference, the decision was made in the Soviet Union, Russia the Soviet Union. And Russia as the legal successor of the USSR is one of the founding nations of the United Nations and a permanent security council member. 

Sure I'll have to say a few words about how the current situation and about how international relations are shaping up today. The United Nations remains the only universal international organization which is charged with maintaining international peace and security. In that sense there's absolutely no alternative to it. Clearly it has to adapt to a changing world and we've all been constantly debating how it should change at what pace and what should be changed exactly. 

And of course I'll have to -- not just that I'll have to --but I'll definitely avail myself of the opportunity to speak from this international rostrum to give the Russian vision of the future of this organization and the international community.
Charlie Rose: There is much anticipation that you will speak about the threat of ISIS. And that your presence in Syria is related to that. What is the purpose of the presence in Syria and how does that relate to the challenge of ISIS?
Vladimir Putin: I believe I'm pretty certain that virtually everyone speaking from the United Nations platform is going to talk about the fight, about the need to fight terrorism. And I can't avoid this issue either regarding our, as you put it, presence in Syria. 

As of today, it's taken the form of supplying weapons to the Syrian government, training personnel and providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. Today terrorism is a threat for many states in the world. A large number of people suffer from their criminal activities.Hundreds and thousands, millions of people suffer from terrorism. And we're all tasked with joining efforts in order too overcome this common evil. 

In regards to our, as you said, presence in Syria today it's expressed in the form of supplying weapons to the Syrian government, training the personnel, rendering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. We proceed from the U.N. Charter which means from the fundamental principles of international law under which any assistance, including military, can and should be rendered exclusively to a legitimate government of a country with their consent or at their request or upon the decision of the U.N.Security Council. 

In this case we are dealing with a request from the Syrian government to render them military and technical assistance which we're doing within the framework of lawful international contract.
Charlie Rose: Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States welcomes your assistance in the battle against ISIS.Others have taken note of the fact that these are fighter planes, anti-aircraft systems. And those are for use against a conventional army, not extremists.
Vladimir Putin: There is only one legitimate conventional army and that is the army of the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad and he's facing according to the interpretation of some of our international partners the opposition. 

But in fact really in real life the army of Bashar al-Assad is dealing with terrorist organizations. But in fact, really, in real life the army of Basharal-Assad is dealing with terrorist organizations. Surely you know better than I about the hearings which have just taken place in the Senate if I'm not mistaken where the military, the representatives from the Pentagon reported to the senators about what have been done by the United States in order to train the combat units of the opposition forces. 

They had first had the goal to train 5,000 or 6,000 troops, then 12,000. Then it turned out that only sixty [men] were trained, and only four or five men were fighting with their arms in hands, and the rest just turned coat, they went over to ISIS with American weapons. That's the first point. 

Secondly, I believe that providing aid to illegitimate organizations is not in line with international law and the charter of the United Nations. We support only legitimate government organizations.

In this regard, we propose to coordinate with the countries in the region to create a certain coordinated framework. I personally informed the President of Turkey, the king of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and also informed the United States and Mr. Kerry, whom you just mentioned, had a substantive talk with our foreign minister Lavrov. And our military people have been in contact and we would be glad if we could find a common platform for joint action against the terrorists.
Charlie Rose: So you would like to join the United States in the fight against ISIS -- that's part of why you're there. Others think that while that may be part of your goal that you're trying to save the Assad administration because they've been losing ground and the war has not been going well for them and you're there to rescue them.
Vladimir Putin: Correct, that's the case. And I've already said it twice during our talk. I'll repeat it for the third time. We support the legitimate government of Syria. 

And furthermore, it's my deep conviction that any actions to the contrary, in order to destroy the legitimate government, will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions of the world for instance in Libya where all the state institutions are disintegrated. 

We see a similar situation regrettably in Iraq and there's no other solution whatsoever to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the existing legal government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism but at the same time urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational part of the opposition and with conducting political reforms.
Charlie Rose: As you know, some of the coalition partners want to see President Assad go first before they will support.
Vladimir Putin: I'd like to advise them and recommend to them the following. They should send this wish to the Syrian people and not to Assad. It's only the Syrian people inside the country who are entitled to decide who should govern their country and how and by what principles. I believe advice from the outside is inappropriate harmful and contrary to international law.
Charlie Rose: We have talked about that before. Do you think that President Assad -- do you support him? Do you support what he is doing in Syria and what is happening to those Syrian people, those many millions of refugees and the hundreds of thousands of people that have been killed many by his own force.
Vladimir Putin: Well tell me, do you think those who support his armed opposition and mainly the terrorist organizations only in order to oust Assad are acting correctly without concern about what will happen from outside after all the government institutions have been totally demolished in that country?

We've already been through that. I've already mentioned Libya.Just now it was quite recently the United States actively helped to destroy the state institutions whether they were good or bad. That's a separate issue. But now they're destroyed and now the United States has suffered great losses -- the death of their ambassador for instance. You see what it all leads us to. That's why we support the legitimate state structures. 

But I want to repeat this once again in the hope that the needed political reforms will be taken and introduced in Syria. You've said repeatedly that Assad is fighting against his own people. But look at those who control 60 percent of the territory in Syria. Where is the civilized opposition? 60 percent of the territory is controlled either by ISIS or by others such as al Nusra and other terrorist organizations, they're recognized as terrorist organizations by the United States, by other states and by the United Nations. It is them and no one else that controls 60 percent of the Syrian territories.
Charlie Rose: OK. But you're saying you stepped -- you are saying you stepped in because you did not think the job was being done and you listened to what happened in the U.S.senate and you heard the results and you said Russia must act and I Vladimir Putin must act.
Vladimir Putin: Well, we do act and we've always been acting in this direction. We've been cooperating with many countries.We continue this cooperation including with the United States of America. 

We constantly send to our colleagues through our mutual intelligence the information that's needed by the intelligence divisions of the U.S. to maintain security for U.S.citizens both in the U.S. and abroad. But I believe that today such a level of coordination is not enough. We need to work more closely together.
Charlie Rose: But you believe that the way to do it is what?

What's the strategy that you are recommending other than simply supporting the Assad regime?
Vladimir Putin: Well yes, I've already said this. We need to help Assad's army because besides his army no one is fighting ISIS in SyriaI want you and your audience to finally realize that no one except for Assad's army is fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups now in Syria. No one is fighting them in Syria. And these insignificant attacks from the air including the bombings by the U.S. don't bring any tangible solution to the issue. 

There must be work on the ground after the bombing. It must be coordinated. We need to understand which attacks and where they must be launched and who will come after these strikes are made on the territory. In Syria, there is no other force beside the army of Bashar al-Assad.
Charlie Rose: Are you prepared to put Russian combat troops on the ground in Syria if it's necessary to defeat ISIS?
Vladimir Putin: Russia will not participate in any troop operations in the territory of Syria or in any other state. Well, at least we don't plan it as of today but we're considering the intensification of our work both with President Assad and with our partners in other countries.
Charlie Rose: What does that mean?
Vladimir Putin: It means that our military service men will not participate in combat operations directly. They will not fight.We will support the army of Assad.
Charlie Rose: Air strikes?
Vladimir Putin: I mean war. Combat operations in Syria, the infantry, the motorized troops.
Charlie Rose: What else is going to be required? Because I come back to the problem that many people look at. They believe that Assad helps ISIS. That his reprehensible conduct against the Syrian people using barrel bombs and worse, is a recruiting tool for ISIS. And that he was removed, transitioned at some point it would be better in the fight against
Isis: Well, speaking in the professional language of intelligence services, I can tell you that this kind of assessment is clearly an active measure by enemies of Assad that is anti-Syrian propaganda. 

There's nothing in common between Assad and ISIL. They have nothing in common. They're fighting each other.And let me repeat Assad and his army is the only force which is indeed fighting ISIL.
Charlie Rose: But there were reports earlier -- there were reports earlier in the year that you were prepared or you seem to be pulling back a degree from your support of him and that what you wanted to see was a negotiated political transition.
Vladimir Putin: Well, we think that issues of political nature in any country including Syria must be decided by the Syrian people, first of all. But we are ready to provide assistance to the official authorities in Syria and to the rational opposition so that they can find some common points and agree upon the political future of their country. 

That's why we've organized the series of meetings between the representatives of the opposition and the representatives of Assad's government. We participated in the Geneva conference and we're ready to act in this direction in the future pushing both sides, the official authorities and the opposition to negotiate through peaceful means.
Charlie Rose: Here's what the "Washington Post" said in an editorial today. "Into the vacuum of American leadership -- the vacuum of American leadership -- has stepped Russian president Vladimir Putin who has dispatched troops and equipment to Syria in an effort to force the world to accept his solution to the war which is the creation of a new coalition to fight the Islamic state that include in the coalition the Assad government." The interesting thing they're saying is that you have moved into a vacuum of American leadership -- the "Washington Post".
Vladimir Putin: Well, we're not filling the vacuum of American leadership, we're trying to prevent the creation of the vacuum in the government of Syria in general because as soon as government agencies are destroyed in a given state or a given country, that's when a power vacuum occurs. And at that moment, it will be instantly filled with terrorists. 

That was the case in Libya and that was the case in Iraq. That was the case in some other countries -- in Somalia. And this was the case in Afghanistan as well. For us, there's no question of any fight with the American leadership at all.
Charlie Rose: Well the vacuum for our leadership. It seems to be, knowing you -- you have said that a strong centralized government is in the DNA of Russia. And you have a huge fear, as you suggest, in anarchy maybe in Syria and in other places of no strong government. That's the fear that Vladimir Putin has.
Vladimir Putin: Well, I'm not saying that there's no strong government in the country. I'm saying that if there is no government at all, then there will be anarchy and a vacuum. And this vacuum and anarchy will rapidly transform into terrorism. 

Well, take Iraq for example. There was a well-known figure, Saddam Hussein. Whether he was good or bad, you've probably forgotten that. At some stage the U.S. was cooperating very actively with Saddam when he was fighting Iran. You helped him with arms. The diplomatic support was accorded. Political cover was provided, et cetera. 

Then for some reason you had a falling out and the U.S. decided to eliminate Saddam. But by eliminating Saddam Hussein the U.S.eliminated the Iraqi government and thousands of people from the Ba'ath Party. Thousands of Iraqi servicemen which were a part of the Sunni elite of the state were thrown out on the streets. Nobody thought about them. Now they're filling the ranks of ISIL. That's what we're fighting against. We're not against some country showing its leadership somewhere.We're against thoughtless actions that result in such negative situations that are hard to correct.
Charlie Rose: As you know, a recent visitor to Moscow was the leader of the Quds forces from Iran -- Qassem Soleimani. General Soleimani. What role will he play and the Quds forces in Syria and what did you two decide is necessary?
Vladimir Putin: I've already said that all countries of the region must unite their efforts in the fight against a common threat against terrorism in general and ISIS in particular. This refers to Iran and Saudi Arabia despite the fact that relations between these two countries are not at their best. But ISIS poses a threat to both states. 

This refers to Jordan, Turkey -- in spite of the fact that there are some issues there with regards to the Kurds. But the settlement of the situation as I believe is of interest for all. Our task is to unite these efforts to fight the common enemy.
Charlie Rose: Much is being read into this, including this. That this is a new effort for Russia to take a leadership role in the Middle East and that it represents a new strategy by you. Is it?
Vladimir Putin: No, no. Not really. We've already mentioned what makes us provide growing support to Assad's government and think about the prospects of the situation in the region. I've already told you. You've asked me. 

I've answered you about more than 2,000 fighters are in the territory of Syria from the former Soviet Republic. There's a threat that they'll return to us. So instead of waiting for their return we should help Assad fight them in the Syrian territory.So this is the most important motivation which pushes us to provide assistance to Assad. And in general we want the situation in the region to stabilize. 

So that there will be no new Somalia cases there because it's close to our borders. We want to develop normal relations with these countries. We've traditionally had good relations with the Middle Eastern countries and we hope that this will continue in the future.
Charlie Rose: But your pride in Russia means that you would like to see Russia play a bigger role in the world and this is just one example.
Vladimir Putin: Well it's not an end in itself. I'm proud of Russia, that's true. And I believe that the overall majority in my country loves Russia and respects it. We have something to be proud of. We have Russian culture, Russian history. We have grounds to believe in the future of our country. 

But we don't have any obsession with being a super power in the international arena. We are involved in only one thing, defending our fundamental interests.
Charlie Rose: But you are in part a major power because of the nuclear weapons you have. You are a force to be reckoned with.
Vladimir Putin: Well, I hope so. I definitely hope so. Otherwise why do we have those weapons at all? 

We've proceeded from the premise that nuclear weapons or other weapons are the means to defend our sovereignty and legitimate interests. It's not the means for aggressive behavior or for implementing some non-existent imperialist ambition.
Charlie Rose: When you go to New York for the U.N., will you request a meeting with President Obama?
Vladimir Putin: Such meetings are planned beforehand. President Obama I believe during such events does not have a second to spare. There are an enormous number of delegations from all over the world.
Charlie Rose: A second to spare for the President of Russia?
Vladimir Putin: Well, that's his choice. We're always open to any contact on the highest level at the highest levels of ministries, agencies, intelligent services. But if the President finds a few minutes to meet me, that will be great. I'll be happy to meet with him. But if due to circumstances he's not able to do that, well nothing to worry about. We'll have a chance to speak at the Group of 20 meeting.
Charlie Rose: Oh, come on. Come on. You'd like to sit down with the President and say look I have a plan for Syria. Let's work together. Let's see what we can do. Not only let's work together on Syria, let's see what we can do on other things.
Vladimir Putin: Well, you know, the thing is such serious matters are discussed -- the eyes are finally -- well, you know the thing is such serious matters are discussed, they are finally dotted at the highest level between the presidents but they're prepared during consultations by ministries, by military agencies, by intelligence services if necessary. It's a lot of work. So if the work is ready to complete then there's a special point in meeting. But if they're not at the final stage yet then we can meet with President Obama, talk to each other and shake hands. But I believe I'm ready to engage in this contact always.
Charlie Rose: Leadership comes from the top down and if you're going there to make a big speech, you want the President of the United States to fully be on board as much as he can. I mean why don't you to pick up the phone and call up and say -- as you did after our conversation in St. Petersburg. You telephoned the President. Telephone the President again and say let's make sure we spend some time. The issues are too critical and two of us can do better than one of us.
Vladimir Putin: Well, you are right. I did call President Obama about these very issues -- that's true. And that's the usual practice of our interaction. There's nothing extraordinary. Let me repeat. Any personal meetings are prepared as a rule by our staffs. We're ready. But I'm telling you for third time now that does not depend on us. That does not depend on us. If the Americans want a meeting, we'll have a meeting.
Charlie Rose: You need no preparation, none, because you deal with these things every day. You need no preparation to see with the President of the United States nor does he. It's diplomatic nicety you're suggesting. But I hear you. You're prepared to meet him.
Vladimir Putin: How many years have you been working as a journalist?
Charlie Rose: More years than I want to remember.
Vladimir Putin: It's difficult for me to give you advice as to what you're prepared for or not prepared for. Why do you think you can give me advice in regard to what I'm ready for or not when it's not my first term as president? 

But that's not what's most important. What's most important is that Russia, the President of Russia and all my colleagues are ready to engage in these contacts at the highest level, at the government level, at the level of the ministries. 

We're ready to go as far as our American colleagues are ready to goSo -- and by the way, the U.N. platform was created to seek compromise, to engage in negotiations. Definitely, if we use this platform, that will be good.
Charlie Rose: Let me ask you this. What do you think of President Obama? What's your evaluation of him?
Vladimir Putin: I don't think I'm entitled to give any views regarding the President of the United States. That's up to the American people. We have good personal relations. We're quite frank with each other. Our relations are business-like. I believe that's quite sufficient to comply with our functions.
Charlie Rose: Do you think his activities in foreign affairs reflect a weakness -- a weakness?
Vladimir Putin: I don't think so at all. You know, I believe that in any country and in the United States I believe more often than any other country, political factors are used for domestic political battles. 

In the U.S. the Presidential campaign is coming up soon so they're playing either the Russian card or some other. All sorts of accusations are made against the current head of state and political opponents. There are many lines of attack including accusations of weakness, incompetence or something else. I don't think that's the case and I don't intend to get involved in a domestic American skirmish.
Charlie Rose: OK, but let me ask you this. Do you think he listens to you?
Vladimir Putin: Well, I think we listen to each other in a way especially when it comes to something that doesn't go counter to our own ideas about what we should and should not do. But anyway I think we have a dialogue, we hear each other.
Charlie Rose: You hear each other. Do you think he considers Russia -- you said you're not a super power -- he considers Russia an equal and considers you an equal which is the way you want to be treated?
Vladimir Putin: Well, you ask him. He's your president. How could I know what he thinks? 

Let me repeat. We have a relationship on an equal footing both in terms of interpersonal relations and our relations as people are equal. We're respectful of each other at least. And our professional contacts are at a good working level. 

How can I know what the President of the United States, of France, the Chancellor of Germany, the President of Japan or the chairman of the State Council of China are thinking? 

We don't look at what we think they do but I look at their actions.
Charlie Rose: I know. Yes, of course. But you enjoy the work, you enjoy representing Russia and you know, you've been an intelligence officer. Intelligence officers know how to read other people. 

That's part of the job, yes?
Vladimir Putin: It used to be -- used to be. Now I have a different job an that's been for quite sometime
Charlie Rose: Someone in Russia told me there is no such thing as a former
Kgb Man. Once A Kgb Man: You know, not a single stage of our lives passes without a trace. No matter what we're involved in, no matter what we do. 

All this knowledge we acquire, all the experience will always remain with us and we carry it further and will use it somehow. Well, in a sense yes, they are right.
Charlie Rose: A C.I.A. operative once said to me that one of the training you have is you learn the capacity to be light as well because you have to charm people. You have to seduce them.
Vladimir Putin: Well, if the C.I.A. told you, well if the C.I.A. told you then that's the way it is because they're not bad specialists.
Charlie Rose: Think out loud for me, though. Think out loud because this is important. 

How can the United States and Russia cooperate in the interest of a better world? Think out loud.
Vladimir Putin: We're always thinking about that. 

One of the areas of our cooperation which is extremely important today and for many people -- for millions of people on the planet is our common joining of forces and our common efforts in countering terror. The other phenomena of this kind -- combating drug traffic.
Charlie Rose: Like where?
Vladimir Putin: In all the regions of the world. 

Now as what you yourself said, you mentioned that Russia and the United States are the greatest nuclear powers. That places additional responsibility on our shoulders. We manage to work together. Along certain lines, we get along especially when it comes to Iran's nuclear program. 

We work together, after all. And in general we have attained quite positive results.
Charlie Rose: How does that work because the President has often cited you for the assistance that you gave to reaching a final accord? What did you do? What did your negotiators contribute? Your foreign secretary Lavrov?
Vladimir Putin: Well, as strange as that may seem, the interests of the United States and Russia do sometimes coincide. 

And in this case, when I just told you that we have a particular responsibility incumbent upon us for the non-proliferation of WMDs in this area, our interests do precisely coincide. That's why together with the United States we've been engaged in consistent intensive work of the resolution of this issue. 

But Russia was guided not only by those considerations but also by the fact that Iran is our neighbor. It's our traditional partner. And that's why we wanted the situation around Iran to be normalized. 

We believe that after normalization and a resolution of this problem, the security situation in the Middle East will strengthen. In that regard, our evaluation of Iran's nuclear program pretty much coincides with America's.
Charlie Rose: As you know the Republicans are running for president. And it's a big debate and they all are against the Iran nuclear deal. What would you tell them?
Vladimir Putin: I've already said that. If you want me to repeat it, I can. 

I'm confident that the agreements correspond to the interests of international security and strengthens the situation in the region. It puts definite serious barriers in the way of the WMD proliferation because the IAEA will fully and comprehensively monitor the situation. 

And that normalizes the situation in the Middle East in general because that helps us to construct normal business-like partners and political relations with all the countries in the region.
Charlie Rose: You have a popularity rating in Russia that would make every politician in the world envious. 

Why are you so popular?
Vladimir Putin: There's something that I have in common with every citizen of Russia -- the love of our motherland.
Charlie Rose: Many of us were moved by the emotional moment at the time of the World War II memory because of the sacrifices Russia had made. And you -- you were seen with the picture of your father with tears in your eyes.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, my family suffered severe losses during the Second World War. My relatives in general, that's true. Well, in my father's family, there were five brothers I believe. I think four of them died. On my mother's side the picture was pretty much the same. Russia has bad -- has suffered great losses. And of course we can't forget that. And we must not forget that. 

Not to put blame on somebody, but to prevent anything like this from happening again in the future. 

We must remember about this and we pay a great deal of respect to veterans, including U.S. veterans and they were at the victory day parade in our country on May 9 of this year. We remembered the sacrifices made by all the countries such as Great Britain and China. We remember this. 

And I believe that is our common positive memory about the joint fight against Nazism. And this will continue to be a good platform to overcome those difficulties that we're facing today.
Charlie Rose: That's what you want to rekindle a sense of partnership with America against common enemies?
Vladimir Putin: Well not against common enemies, but in each other's interests.
Charlie Rose: While you're also popular, as you know, and forgive me but there are many people who are critical of Russia, as you know. They say that it's more autocratic and less democratic. 

They say that political opponents and journalists have been killed and imprisoned in Russia. They say your power is unchallenged and they say that power and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

What do you say to those people who worry about the climate, the atmosphere in Russia?
Vladimir Putin: Well, there can be no democracy without implementation of the law and compliance with the law. 

Everyone must observe the laws. This is the most important thing which we must bear in mind. No one must forget that. 

As for those tragic events such as the death of people including journalists, unfortunately they do occur in all countries of the world. But if they happen in our country we do the utmost to find the criminals and to punish them. 

And we do this in all directions but the most important thing is that we will continue to improve our political system so that people can feel, every citizen can feel, that they do influence the country and the society so that the authorities would feel responsible with regard to those people who trust them during election campaigns.
Charlie Rose: As you well know, if you as the leader of this country insist the rule of law be adhered, if you insist that justice be done, if you because of your power, then it could go a long way to eliminating that perception.
Vladimir Putin: Well a lot can be done but not everyone succeeds with everything from the very start. Look here. 

How long did it take the democratic process to develop in the United States since the very beginning of the creation of the United States? 

Do you believe that everything is perfect now from the point of view of democracy? 

If it were perfect, there would be no problem in Ferguson, right? There would be no other problems of a similar nature. There would be no abuse by the police. 

But our task is to see all these problems and to react properly in due time. This is the same case in Russia -- a lot of problems.
Charlie Rose: So the people who killed Nemtsov will be prosecuted to the fullest?
Vladimir Putin: Yes. I said it right away. This is a shameful page in our modern history, today's history; and criminals must be prosecuted and punished. Probably this cannot be done in a second, but we have had other examples of crimes of this kind.And finally in the end, despite the fact that these investigations continue for quite a long time, it concluded in a due manner.
Charlie Rose: You know that I admire Russia and its culture very much -- its literature, its music. It is a large country, a big country. And many people, including Stalin, have said Russia needs a strong authoritative figure. They worship, Stalin said, that kind of figure. Was Stalin right?
Vladimir Putin: No, he was wrong. I don't remember him saying that so I can't confirm those quotes. Russia as any other country in the world needs just principles for state structure rather than dictators. Russia needs these principles which flexibly respond to these changes inside the country and outside the country. That's what Russia needs.
Charlie Rose: But there is a tradition of strong leadership here.Of all those people, who do you --
Vladimir Putin: Well you know, in most European countries,there's parliamentary democracy. Japan has it, many countries have it. But for some reason the state structure of the U.S. is quite different. 

It's a quite rigid presidential republic. 

Each country has its own special features, its own traditions which are reflected in today and will be reflected in the future. We also have such traditions in Russia but we're not talking about some strong figure although, of course, such a figure is needed in the leadership but we need to find an explanation about who this strong man is. 

Is it a dictator or is it just a leader who acts within his duties by the law and for the sake of the interest of the major part of the population? 

If he's acting consistently and in a principled way this is a totally different situation. 

So I believe that Russia does need such people -- the second type I've mentioned. A second class -- Russia needs that much more --
Charlie Rose: As you know, some have called you a czar.
Vladimir Putin: Well, what of it? You know, people call me different names.
Charlie Rose: Well, does the name fit?
Vladimir Putin: No, it doesn't fit me. 

You know we have a saying. Call me a pot if you want just don't put me in the oven. It's not important what you are called by your well-wishers,friends or your political opponents. 

What's important is what you yourself think about what you must do for the interest of the country which has entrusted you with such a position, with such a post as the head of the Russian state.
Charlie Rose: Are people in Russia fearful of you?
Vladimir Putin: I think not.

Charlie Rose: Part one of my two-part interview with President Putin of Russia

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