Putin: Russia's progress cannot be halted
Russia’s progress cannot be halted, and the anti-Russia sanctions are useless here, the country's President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the NBC television network.
"I think it is impossible to contain Russia anywhere. You need to understand this. Listen, you cannot even contain North Korea. What are you talking about? Why would you do that? Why do we have to contain, attack or cast suspicion on each other? We are offering cooperation," Putin told NBC anchor Megyn Kelly during the interview, which was posted on the Kremlin's website.
Speaking about the US sanctions, the Russian leader said that they "have nothing to do with the myth of some Russian interference in the US election". Sanctions are about something else entirely: the desire to halt Russia’s progress, to contain Russia," he stressed.
The president said that this policy of containing Russia has been pursued for decades and it is a misguided policy, which not only affects Russian-US relations but also US businesses because it frees up space for their competitors on the Russian market.
"You and I were at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. The largest business delegation was from the US. People want to work with us, but they are not allowed to; they are contained in order to contain Russia," Putin added.
Putin also touched upon the issue of a successor. "I have been thinking about this since 2000. Thinking is not a crime, but in the end, the choice will still be up to the Russian people," Vladimir Putin said.
Commenting on the opinion that when other people come to power, what was done earlier will be destroyed, Putin said: "What your so-called experts say is their wishful thinking. I have heard a lot of nonsense like this. Why do you think that I will necessarily be succeeded by people ready to destroy everything I have done in recent years? Maybe, on the contrary, a government will come to power determined to strengthen Russia, to create a future for it, to build a platform for development for the new generations. Why have you suddenly decided that some destroyers would arrive and wipe out whatever they can? Maybe there are people who would like this, including in the United States," he said.
"I do not think they are right, because the United States, I think, should be more interested in the other option – in Russia being a stable, prosperous and developing country, I mean if you really can look at least 25–50 years ahead," he added.
"I strongly believe that my legacy would be to create a powerful development momentum for Russia, and make the country a resilient and balanced democracy that is able to benefit from the latest advances of the technology revolution. We will keep up our efforts to improve our political system and the judiciary," he said, adding that all this, taken together, would strengthen the unity of the Russian Federation and the unity of its people.
The Russian leader noted that all presidents, despite their age, must work to the best of their ability.
"First, there are many politicians around the world who are older than I am and who are still working active. There are many such people, in Europe and everywhere in the world. But if a person assumes the highest offices, he must work as if he is doing it for the first and last day of his life," the president stressed.
"There is the Constitution. I have never violated it and have never changed it. Of course, if voters give me the opportunity to serve another term, I will do it to the best of my ability," Putin concluded.