Transcript of American NBC March 1 & 2, 2018 Vladimir Putin Interview with Megyn Kelly with Gail Commentary.
GAIL’S TRANSCRIPTION OF VLADIMIR PUTIN MARCH 2, 2018 AMERICAN NBC KALININGRAD, RUSSIA INTERVIEW WITH MEGYN KELLY, WITH TRANSLATOR FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN’S OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL WEBSITE IN RED. Gail did not transcribe the March 1, 2018 interview from audio (PART ONE) which seemed to have a very heavy Vladimir clone presence, with the clone looking goofy, shallow and definitely not Presidential. It is better to watch the expression coming from his eyes to detect that he is a clone. The Jesuit strategy seemed to impose the clone onto the real Vladimir in the video melding the two together in some sections, with the shallow expression from the eyes the main give-away that this is a clone.
Part 1. The Kremlin, Moscow, March 1, 2018
Megyn Kelly: So, thank you very much for doing this, Mr President. I thought that we’d start with some of the news you made today at your State of the Nation Address, then we will move into some facts about you in preparation for our long piece that we are putting together, and then tomorrow when we will have a longer time together, we will talk about more substantive issues together, if that is ok with you.
Vladimir Putin: Fine.
Megyn Kelly: You announced today that Russia has developed new nuclear-capable weapons systems, including an intercontinental ballistic missile that you say renders defence systems useless. Several analysts in the West have said this is a declaration of a new Cold War. Are we in a new arms race right now?
Vladimir Putin: In my opinion, the people you have mentioned are not analysts. What they do is propaganda. Why? Because everything I spoke about today was done not on our initiative, it is a response to the US ballistic missile defence programme and Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.
If we speak of the arms race, it began at that very moment, when the United States pulled out of the ABM Treaty. We wanted to prevent this. We called on our American partners to work together on these programmes.
Firstly, we asked them not to withdraw from the treaty, not to destroy it. But the US pulled out. It was not us who did this but the US.
Yet we again suggested we work together even after this. I told my colleague then, “Imagine what would happen if Russia and the US joined forces in the crucial area of strategic security. The world would change for a long period to come, and the level of global security would rise to an all-time high.” The reply was, “This is very interesting.” But they ultimately rejected all our proposals.
Then I said, “You understand that we will have to improve our offensive arms systems to maintain a balance and to have the ability to overcome your BMD systems.” They replied that they were not developing the BMD systems to counter us, that we were free to do as we pleased, and that they would not view our actions as spearheaded against the US.
Megyn Kelly: That happened right after 9/11, three months after 9/11.
Vladimir Putin: No, it was after the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, and the conversations I mentioned were in 2003–2004.
Megyn Kelly: At the time that happened, I believe you were quoted as saying that you thought it was a mistake on the part of the United States, but not a threat. Do you perceive the United States as a threat today?
Vladimir Putin: We have always said that developing the missile defence system creates a threat to us. We have always said that. Our American partners would not publicly admit it, claiming that the system was spearheaded mainly against Iran. But eventually, in conversations and during talks they admitted that, of course, the system will destroy our nuclear deterrence potential.
Imagine the situation. What was the point of signing the treaty back in 1972? The United States and the Soviet Union had only two regions that they defended from missile attacks: one in the United States and one in the Soviet Union. That created a threat for a potential aggressor who would be struck in response. In 2002, the United States said, “We do not need this anymore. We will create anything we want, globally, all over the world.”
Megyn Kelly: Again, it was in the wake of 9/11, just to make it clear. 9/11 happened on September 11, 2001, and the United States was reassessing its security posture in the world for good reason, wouldn’t you admit?
Vladimir Putin: No, not for good reason. This is complete nonsense. Because the missile defence system protects from the kind of ballistic missiles that no terrorists have in their arsenal. This is an explanation for the housewives watching your programme. But if these housewives can hear what I am saying, if you show it to them and they hear me, they will understand that 9/11 and the missile defence system are completely unrelated. To defend themselves from terrorist attacks, the major powers must join their efforts against the terrorists rather than create threats for each other.
Megyn Kelly: About the weapon that you announced today, the ICBM, have you actually tested it and it works? Because some analysts are suggesting that you have tested it, and it failed. And that is why you only showed animations of it today, and have not yet produced any actual videos.
Vladimir Putin: I spoke about several systems today. Which one are you referring to, the heavy-duty intercontinental ballistic missile?
Megyn Kelly: Yes, the one that you claimed renders defence systems useless.
Vladimir Putin: All the systems I mentioned today easily overcome missile defence. Each one of them. This is the point of all these developments.
Megyn Kelly: But you have tested it?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course.
Megyn Kelly: And it worked?
Vladimir Putin: It did, very well.
Some of these systems require additional work. Some of them are already deployed. Some are in serial production.
Getting back to the beginning of our conversation, there is a missile defence system deployed in Alaska. The distance between Russia’s Chukotka and Alaska is only 60 kilometres.
Two systems are being deployed in Eastern Europe. One is already in place in Romania. Construction of another one is almost finished in Poland. There is also the navy. US ships are based very close to Russian shores both in the south and the north.
Imagine if we placed our missile systems along the US-Mexico or the US-Canada border in their territories on both sides and brought our ships in from both sides. What would you say? Would you take action? Meanwhile we would respond that you are escalating the arms race? Ridiculous, isn’t it? This is exactly what is happening.
Megyn Kelly: Just to come back. Are you saying that we are in a new arms race?
Vladimir Putin: I want to say that the United States, when it withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, forced us to begin developing new weapon systems. We told our partners about it, and they said, “Do whatever you like.” Fine, that is what we did – so enjoy.
Megyn Kelly: You disclosed that Russia was developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that was powered by nukes that could render defence systems useless?
Vladimir Putin: Of course not. I did not know at the time how we could respond, to be honest. So it seems that our partners believed we would have nothing to respond with. Our economy was is dire straits, as well as the defence sector and the army. Therefore, I do not think anobody could have thought that in such a short period of time we would be able to make such a gigantic leap in the development of strategic weapons. I think the CIA must have told the US President that we would not do anything in response. While the Pentagon said something like, “And we will develop a powerful cutting-edge global anti-missile system.” So they did.
But I will answer your question directly. I can tell you what we told our American partners, what I said personally at the time.
Megyn Kelly: Just to clarify, do you mean George W. Bush?
Vladimir Putin: Who was President in 2002, 2003 and 2004?
Megyn Kelly: But did this happen continuously or just during that timeframe?
Vladimir Putin: Actually, we kept going on about it for 15 years. I said, almost literally, that we would not develop a system of anti-missile defence the way you are doing. Firstly, because it is too expensive, and we do not have the resources. And secondly, we do not know yet how it would work: you do not know, and we certainly do not either.
But, to preserve the strategic balance so that you would not be able to zero out our nuclear deterrence forces, we will develop strike systems that will be able to break your anti-missile systems.
We said this plainly and openly, without any aggression, I just told stated we would do. Nothing personal.
And the response was, “We are not doing this against you, but you do whatever you want and we will presume that it is not directed against us, not against the United States.”
Megyn Kelly: Let us talk about present day and going forward, because what you said today was that you would use these weapons if Russia or her allies come under attack. And the question is whether you meant any attack or only a nuclear attack on Russia or its allies?
Vladimir Putin: I heard you.
I would also like to say that in 2004 – I mentioned this today –I said at a news conference that we will be developing weapons and even mentioned a concrete missile system, Avangard as we call it.
It is called Avangard now, but then I simply spoke of how it would work. I openly said how it would work. We hoped that this would be heard and the US would discuss it with us and discuss cooperation. But no, it was as if they had not heard us. Strategic offensive arms reduction and an antimissile defence system are different things.
Megyn Kelly: So, you didn’t feel like you needed to disclose.
Vladimir Putin: We will be reducing the number of delivery vehicles and warheads under the New START Treaty. This means that the numbers will be reduced on both sides, but at the same time, one party, the United States, will be developing antimissile systems.
This will ultimately lead to a situation where all our nuclear missiles, Russia’s entire missile potential will be reduced to zero. This is why we have always linked this. This is how it was in the Soviet-American times; these are natural things, everyone understands this.
Megyn Kelly: But is it your contention that the 4,000 nukes that Russia now has cannot penetrate the existing military defence system?
Vladimir Putin: They can. Today they can. But you are developing your antimissile systems. Antimissiles’ range is increasing, and so is their accuracy. These weapons are being upgraded. This is why we need to respond to this appropriately, so that we are able to penetrate the system not only today but also tomorrow, when you acquire new weapons.
Megyn Kelly: That is why it would be a big deal if you really did have a nuclear-powered ICBM, which people are questioning, whether you have a usable one right now. When you said earlier that you have some that had tested positively and were excellent, you said others had not. So, for the record, right now, do you have a workable ICBM that is powered by nukes that you have tested successfully?
Vladimir Putin: Look, I did not say that the testing of some of these systems had been unsuccessful. All the tests were successful. It is just that each of these weapon systems is at a different stage of readiness. One is already on alert duty in line units. Another is in the same status. The work is proceeding on schedule with regard to some systems. We have no doubt that they will be in service, just as we had no doubt in 2004 that we would make a missile with the so-called cruise glide re-entry vehicle.
You have been referring all the time to intercontinental ballistic missiles, new missiles…
Megyn Kelly: You keep mentioning ICBMs.
Vladimir Putin: No. I am saying that we are developing just one brand of new heavy missile, which will replace a missile that we call Voyevoda, and you have dubbed it Satan. We will replace it with a new and more powerful missile. Here it is: a ballistic missile. All the other missiles are not ballistic.
Therein lies the entire meaning of this, because any antimissile defence system operates against ballistic missiles. But we have created a set of new strategic weapons that do not follow ballistic trajectories and the antimissile defence systems are powerless against them. This means that the US taxpayers’ money has been wasted.
Megyn Kelly: But again, you say that you are going to use these weapons, these nuclear-powered weapons if Russia or its allies come under attack. Any attack or only a nuclear one?
Vladimir Putin: There are two reasons why we would respond with our nuclear deterrence forces: a nuclear attack on the Russian Federation or a conventional attack on the Russian Federation, given that it jeopardises the state’s existence.
Megyn Kelly: That is consistent with the existing Russian doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons.
Vladimir Putin: Exactly, there are two possible reasons for a nuclear retaliation.
Megyn Kelly: Are you interested in new talks to extend the new strategic arms control treaty?
Vladimir Putin: The START-3 Treaty will expire soon. We are ready to continue this dialogue. What do we consider important? We agree to a reduction or to retaining current terms, to a reduction in delivery vehicles and warheads. However, today, when we are acquiring weapons that can easily breach all anti-ballistic missile systems, we no longer consider the reduction of ballistic missiles and warheads to be highly critical.
Megyn Kelly: So will these weapons be part of those discussions?
Vladimir Putin: In the context that the number of delivery vehicles and the number of warheads they can or will carry should, of course, be included in the grand total. And we will show you from a distance what this will look like.
Our military experts know how to conduct these inspections. In this sense, there are fine-tuned mechanisms and a sufficiently high level of trust. Generally, military experts are working together professionally. Politicians talk a lot, but military experts know what they are doing.
Megyn Kelly: You are a politician
Vladimir Putin: I am also an officer, and I am the Commander-in-Chief. I also served as a military intelligence officer for 17 years.
Megyn Kelly: Are you proud of that fact? Do you like the fact that you were in the KGB? Do you like people to know that?
Vladimir Putin: I do not see it from an emotional perspective. This gave me a lot of experience in the most diverse fields. I found it useful when I moved on to the civilian sector. Of course, this positive experience helped me in this sense.
Megyn Kelly: How so? How did it help?
Vladimir Putin: You know, after I left the intelligence service, I worked as Assistant Rector at St Petersburg University. I worked with people, established contacts, motivated people to act and brought them together. This is very important in the academic environment. Later, I was Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg. I assumed even greater and broader responsibility. I dealt with St Petersburg’s international ties, and that is a metropolis with a population of five million people. While working in this capacity in St Petersburg, I first met Henry Kissinger. Of course, all this helped me in my work at that time, and my additional experience later helped me in my work in Moscow.
Megyn Kelly: Do you think it gives you an advantage over your adversaries and your allies?
Vladimir Putin: It is hard for me to say. I have no other experience. The only thing I know is that my partners, including heads of state and government, are exceptional and outstanding people. They have gone through stringent selection and elimination procedures. There are no chance people at this level. And each of them has his or her own advantages.
Megyn Kelly: What about that? You have been in power for a long time here in Russia, poised to go into another term as president. You have had four American presidents come and go during that time. I am wondering if you had a favourite, if there was one you liked more than the others?
Vladimir Putin: I am sorry, but this is not a very tactful question. Each of my partners is good in their own right. In all, we had good relations with practically all of them. With Bill Clinton, though he was leaving office, we were able to work together for several months. Then with presidents Bush, Obama, and with the current President too, but to a lesser extent, of course. All of them have something to respect them for. At the same time, we can argue and disagree with each other, and it happens often, we have diverging views on many issues, even on key ones, but we nevertheless managed to maintain normal, human relations. If it were not for that, it would have been not only harder, but much worse for everyone.
Megyn Kelly: How important do you think it is to project strength as a President?
Vladimir Putin: It is important not to project strength, but to show it. It is also important how we understand power. It does not mean banging the table with a fist or yelling. I think power has several dimensions.
Firstly, one should be confident that he is doing the right thing. Secondly, he must be ready to go all the way to achieve the goals.
Megyn Kelly: I wonder this because one of the images that we see of you in the United States is without the shirt on a horse. What is that about?
Vladimir Putin: Well, I have breaks. There are your Russian colleagues, there is the internet. But we do not do this on purpose. They take the photos they like. I have lots of photos of me in the office, working with documents, but nobody is interested in them.
Megyn Kelly: (Laughs.) You are saying they like the shirtless photos?
Vladimir Putin: You know, I have seen “photos” of me riding a bear. I have not ridden a bear yet, but there are such photos already.
NOTE: Vladimir would not say this, because this discredits my YouTube channel and Vladimir is number two on my marriage list. I have had a relationship with Vladimir Putin from Sept. 2001 to now.
Megyn Kelly: Now what about you personally? Your elections are coming up in two weeks. You are 65 years old now. Most people would be slowing down a little in their lives. Do you see that for yourself at all in the future?
Vladimir Putin: First, there are many politicians around the world who are older than I am and who are still working active.
Megyn Kelly: Including in my country.
Vladimir Putin: Not only in the United States, in other countries, too. 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.
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
Megyn Kelly: Last question for tonight, it is late. Forgive me; this may be a long one. What do you see as your greatest accomplishment as president and what do you see as your biggest mistake? And what did you learn from it?
Vladimir Putin: You know, these would be very close.
Our biggest achievement is that our economy has changed radically. It has almost doubled in scale. The number of people living below the poverty line has decreased by half.
At the same time, the number of people living below the poverty line remains large, and we must work on that. We must remove the gap between people with very high and very low incomes. In this context, we have many achievements and many unresolved issues.
Back in the early 2000s, our population shrank by nearly a million people a year. Can you imagine the scale of the disaster? Almost 900,000 people. We have reversed this trend. We have even achieved a natural population increase. We have very low infant mortality, and we have reduced maternal mortality to almost zero. We have prepared and are implementing a large-scale programme of supporting mothers and children. Our life expectancy is growing at a high rate.
Much has changed in our economy. But we have not achieved our main economic goal: we have not yet changed the economic structure as we need to. We have not yet reached the required growth of labour efficiency. But we know how to do it, and I am confident that we will do it. The thing is that we had no opportunity to do this before, because until recently we did not have the macroeconomic conditions for taking specific measures in these areas.
At the beginning of our path, inflation was about 30 percent, but now it is 2.2 percent. Our gold and currency reserves are growing, and we have achieved macroeconomic stability. This offers us an opportunity to take the next step towards enhancing labour efficiency, attracting investment, including private funds, and changing the structure of our economy.
I am talking in large blocks. There are also more specific areas, such as modern technology and artificial intelligence, digitalisation, biology, medicine, genome research, and so on.
Megyn Kelly: Much more on the economy and how Russia is doing – tomorrow, and on your re-election. Thank you so much for your time. You have had a long day. I look forward to meeting up with you in Kaliningrad.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
* * *
BELOW I TRANSCRIBED THIS INTERVIEW FROM THE VIDEO AND WHAT I HEARD (WHICH SEEMED LIKE THE REAL VLADIMIR TO ME). WHAT IS IN BLACK IS WHAT I TRANSCRIBED FROM AUDIO. NOTICE MY TRANSCRIPTION MORE ACCURATELY DEPICTS VLADIMIR’S PERSONALITY THAN THE RED SECTION (WHAT I COPIED AND PASTED FROM THE OFFICIAL PAGE FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENT). THE TRANSLATOR USED FOR THE AUDIO IN THE SECOND PART ON MARCH 2, 2018 DID NOT SEEM A JESUIT AND REALLY SEEMED TO CAPTURE THE REAL VLADIMIR AS HE SPOKE IN ENGLISH WHILE VLADIMIR SPOKE. VLADIMIR IS A VERY STRONG ALPHA MALE AND THE TRANSLATOR FOR THE WRITTEN TRANSCRIPT AT THE OFFICIAL SITE SEEMS TO WANT TO TONE HIM DOWN TO A BETA MALE, LIKE THE CLONE, WHO JESUITS DEPICT AS AN ALINA KABAEVA TYPE OF WOMANIZER. THE “OFFICIAL” TRANSLATOR ALSO CHANGED SOME OF WHAT MEGYN SAID A BIT, TONING HER DOWN. SHE WAS ACTUALLY QUITE RUDE TO VLADIMIR PUTIN. READ THE BLACK AND WHITE VERSION. I TRANSCRIBED HER WORD FOR WORD. ANOTHER THING, VLADIMIR UNDERSTANDS ENGLISH VERY WELL. I KNOW CUZ I TALK AND WRITE TO HIM A LOT IN ENGLISH. HE HAS TROUBLE WITH SPEAKING ENGLISH, BUT NOT WITH UNDERSTANDING IT. SO I BELIEVE THE LAPSE IN TIME FOR TRANSLATION, AS DEPICTED IN PART ONE (MARCH 1, 2018) MAY NOT BE NECESSARY FOR HIM. WHETHER THAT PART ABOUT HIS EXCESSIVE NEED FOR A TRANSLATOR WAS FAKE OR NOT, I DO NOT KNOW, BUT THAT IS A POSSIBILITY. THEY MAY HAVE INSERTED THE TRANSLATOR PAUSE THROUGHOUT PART ONE, TO MAKE THE FAKE PART (HIM SAYING HE NEVER RODE A BEAR) SEEM MORE BELIEVABLE.
Part 2. Kaliningrad, Russia, March 2, 2018
Megyn Kelly: Mr. President, good to see you again.
Vladimir Putin: (in English): Good afternoon.
Megyn Kelly: So, we’re here in Kaliningrad. Why is that? It’s a port that I’m told could not be more threatening to NATO, to Europe. It’s a Russian military base. It’s a Russian military port. It’s home to some of your nukes. Are you trying to send a message?
Vladimir Putin: So, why Kaliningrad? Cuz I regularly travel to different regions of the Russian Federation. This is one of the regions that I also visit regularly. I come here. And this time the occasion was a meeting with regional media outlets which they decided to hold here. It was not I who decided to hold this meeting here. They decided. Your colleagues from regional Russia, Russian media outlets. I had an agreement with them, that once a year I would attend these meetings and meet with members of the regional press. Which is why I am here today. It has nothing to do with trying to give any kind of messages to the outside world. It’s just our domestic political work.
Why Kaliningrad? Because I regularly visit Russian regions. This is one of these regions. This time, I came here to attend a conference of the regional media, which they decided to hold here. It was not my decision but theirs, your colleagues from the Russian regional media. I have an agreement with them that I attend such meetings once a year and meet with them, and that is why I am here today. It does not have anything to do with any external signals; it is our domestic affair.
Megyn Kelly: Understood. So the last time we met, in June, I asked you about the conclusion of our American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our Presidential election. You told me that there was nothing specific in these reports. That if there’s anything specific you said, then there will be something to discuss. You told me, as they used to say in the KGB: addresses, houses, names. . .
Understood. So, the last time we met in June, I asked you about the conclusion of our American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in our presidential election. You told me that there was nothing specific in these reports, that if there is anything specific, you said, then there will be something to discuss. You told me, as they used to say in the KGB: addresses, houses, names. Since then, 13 Russians and three Russian-owned companies have been indicted by a special prosecutor named Robert Mueller in the United States for interfering in our election. The IRA agency, Yevgeny Prigozhin and others running a cyber warfare operation out of an office at 55 Savushkina Street, St Petersburg, Russia. Addresses, houses, names. So, can we have that discussion now?
Vladimir Putin: (smiles meekly)
Megyn Kelly: Since then, thirteen Russians and three Russian owned companies have been indicted by a Special Prosecutor named Robert Mueller in the United States.
Vladimir Putin: (chuckles now in the middle of Megyn’s statement, indicates he understands her right now as she’s speaking in contrast to the clone who needed to wait for the translator)
Megyn Kelly: For interfering in our election. The Internet Research Agency, Yevgeny Prigozhin and others running a cyber warfare operation out of an office at 55 Savushkina Street in St. Petersburg, Russia. Addresses, houses, names. So can we have that discussion now?
Vladimir Putin: Of course. Not only can we, but it seems to me that if this particular subject continues to trouble you that we actually should talk about it. However, if you believe that the question has already been asked. I’m prepared to answer it.
Of course. We not only can but I think we must discuss this issue if it keeps bothering you. But if you think that the question has been asked, I am ready to answer.
Megyn Kelly: Why would you allow an attack like this on the United States?
Vladimir Putin: Why have you decided that the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this? You have just mentioned a number of individuals . . . some of them are known to me, some not. But they’re just individuals. They do not represent the Russian authorities. And even if we were to assume, even though I’m not one hundred percent sure whether they actually did anything during the Presidential campaign in the U.S. or not. I just don’t know anything. But this has nothing to do whatsoever with the stance of the Russian state. The issue after all was the interference by Russia as the Russian state in the internal affairs of the United States. Nothing has changed since you and I talked in St. Petersburg. Some names have popped up. So what? They could just as easily have been the names of some Americans who are sitting here and interfering in your own political process. This hasn’t changed anything.
What makes you think that the Russian authorities and I gave our permission to anyone to do anything? You just named some people; I have heard about some of them, some of them I do not know, but they are just individuals, they do not represent the Russian government. Even if we suppose, though I am not 100 percent certain, that they did something during the US presidential election campaign (I simply do not know anything about it), it has nothing to do with the position of the Russian government. Nothing has changed since we spoke last time in St Petersburg. There are some names, so what? It could just as well be some Americans who while living here, interfered in your own political processes. It has not changed anything.
Megyn Kelly: But it wasn’t Americans. It was Russians. And it was hundreds of people. A monthly budget of 1.25 million dollars all designed to attack the United States in a cyber warfare campaign. You’re up for re-election right now. Should the Russian people be concerned that you had no idea this was going on in your own country? In your own hometown?
But it was not Americans. It was Russians. And it was hundreds of people, a monthly budget of 2.5 billion dollars, all designed to attack the United States in a cyber warfare campaign. You are up for re-election right now. Should the Russians be concerned that you had no idea this was going on in your own home country, in your own hometown?
NOTE: Megyn DID say 1.25 million dollars. What is wrong with the translator for the Russian President’s official website?
Vladimir Putin: (sighs) Listen. The world is very large and very diverse. And there is a fairly complicated relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation. And some of our people have their own opinion about this relationship and they respond to that relationship accordingly. At the level of the government of the Russian Federation, at the level of the President of the Russian Federation, there has never been any interference in the domestic political process in the United States – not in the past, not now. You mentioned a number of names. Some individuals and you’re telling me that they’re Russians. So what? Maybe being Russians they are actually working for some kind of American company. Perhaps one of them used to work for one of the candidates. I have no idea. These are not my problems. Do you know, for example, that in Ukraine, following the elections, some people, and these were public officials sent congratulatory telegrams to Hillary Clinton, even though Trump won. Look, what do we have to do with it? And now, Mr. Manafort, I think that’s his last name, right? Originally, he was accused of being involved in the interference by Russia and the U.S. Presidential election. It turned out that he, in fact, had been involved with Ukraine, and he ended up having problems with Ukraine. But what do we have to do with it? You know, we don’t have any desire whatsoever to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. However, if you’re interested in discussing this subject, I would like to broaden the area of our discussion.
You know, the world is very large and diverse. We have rather complicated relations between the United States and the Russian Federation. And some of our people have their own opinion on these relations and react accordingly. At the level of the Russian Government and at the level of the Russian President, there has never been any interference in the internal political processes in the United States.
You have named some individuals and said that they are Russian. So what? Maybe, although they are Russian, they work for some American company. Maybe one of them worked for one of the candidates. I have no idea about this, these are not my problems. Do you know that, for example, after the presidential election in the US, some Ukrainian officials sent messages congratulating Hillary Clinton, even though Trump had won? Listen, what do we have to do with this?
Now, in my opinion, Mr Manafort, that is his name, he was initially accused of having something to do with Russia’s interference in the presidential election in the United States. It turned out that just the opposite was true: in fact, he had connections to Ukraine. And he had some issues with Ukraine. What do we have to do with this?
You know, we have no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. But if you are interested in talking about this, I would like to widen the scope of our discussion.
Megyn Kelly: Well, I want to go through it. I do want to go through it. If we can do it step by step, I think that will be more clear for the viewers who are following us. Um. Let me ask you this. You say the Russian Federation didn’t order it. Do you condone these activities?
Vladimir Putin: No. We don’t encourage them and we don’t order them. But what I’m saying is that the internal political processes in the United States itself and individuals who wanted to achieve certain results, they could have the right tools available for that. They could have used certain tools in other countries. They could have sent relevant information from France, Germany, Asia, Russia.
We do not condone or order. But I say that there are internal political processes in the United States itself and there are people who wanted to achieve some result. They could have used some tools in other countries: such technologies exist. They could have sent relevant information from France, from Germany, from Asia, from Russia. What do we have to do with this?
Megyn Kelly: So it wasn’t the Russians.
But it was not the Russians.
Vladimir Putin: What does it have to do with us? Okay. Fine. Russians. They were not government officials. So what if they’re Russians? There are one hundred and forty six million Russians. So what?
Well, all right, Russians, but they were not state officials. Well, Russians, and so what? The are 146 million Russian people, so what?
Megyn Kelly: What have you done to satisfy yourself of that fact?
What have you done to satisfy yourself with that fact?
Vladimir Putin: Which?
Megyn Kelly: What have you done to satisfy yourself that it wasn’t Russians? That – you’re suggesting maybe it was Americans, maybe it was the French. What have you done to satisfy yourself that the thirteen nationals who’ve just been indicted, those three Russian companies, including as you point out
Vladimir Putin: (laughs in middle of her statement)
Megyn Kelly: Some of your close friends were not behind this? This has caused an international incident.
What have you done to satisfy yourself that it was not Russians? You suggest maybe it was Americans, maybe it was the French. What have you done to satisfy yourself that the 13 Russian nationals who have just been indicted, those three Russian companies, including, as you pointed out, some of your close friends, were not behind this? This has caused an international incident.
Vladimir Putin: I know that they do not represent the Russian state, the Russian authorities. What they did specifically, I have no idea. I do not know what they were guided by. Even if they did do something. Let our American colleagues instead of just talking in the press, provide us with some evidence, something concrete, based on something and data. We’d be prepared to review them and discuss this.
I know that they do not represent the Russian state or the Russian government. And I have no idea what they did and what they were guided by. Even if they did something, then our American colleagues should not just say something in interviews with the media but give us specific data, with proof. We are ready to consider it and talk about it. But you know what I would like to say…
Megyn Kelly: That would be great. Would you extradite them to the United States?
That would be great. Will you extradite them to the United States?
Vladimir Putin: (firm) NEVER. Russia does not extradite its citizens to anyone, just like the United States. Does the United States extradite its citizens to anyone? That’s for starters. Second. I do not see that they did something illegal. And third. We have repeatedly suggested to the United States that we set up a relevant relationship and sign an intergovernmental treaty for extraditions of criminals. The United States has avoided doing so and doesn’t want to do it with Russia. So what do you expect? That we will extradite somebody to you and you won’t? That’s not how international affairs are conducted. And one other thing, you know, I would like you to hear me out and to convey to your audience and listeners what I’m going to say now. We’ve been carrying on this discussion with our American friends and partners, with representatives of the government, mind you, and we say that when they start launching complaints that some Russians have interfered with the U.S. election, we tell them, just recently, at a very high level – But you, constantly interfere with our political life. Can you imagine they don’t even deny it? So what did they answer last time. They told us, yes, we do interfere. But we, have the right to do so. (Vladimir’s eyes open big). Because we (Americans) are spreading democracy. But you (meaning Russians). You can’t. Do you think that this is a civilized and modern way of phrasing issues in international affairs? Yesterday, we talked about nuclear weapons. There was a point in time when the Soviet Union and the United States came to an agreement and they realized we were both heading to possible mutual destruction and they agreed on how to behave in this area, in the area of ensuring security in the presence of WMDs. Let us agree now how to act in cyberspace that did not exist previously both in terms of capacity and scope.
Never. Just like the United States, Russia does not extradite its citizens anywhere. Have you ever extradited any of your citizens? This is my first point.
Second, I do not believe anything illegal was committed.
And, third, we have repeatedly suggested that the United States and Russia establish relations in this area and sign a corresponding interstate treaty on extraditing criminals. The United States has evaded this proposal and does not want to sign it with Russia. What are you hoping for? That we will extradite people to you whereas you will not? This is not a proper way to go about international affairs.
There is more to it. Please listen to me and take to your viewers and listeners what I am about to say. We are holding discussions with our American friends and partners, people who represent the government by the way, and when they claim that some Russians interfered in the US elections, we tell them (we did so fairly recently at a very high level): ”But you are constantly interfering in our political life.“ Would you believe it, they are not even denying it.
Do you know what they told us last time? They said, ”Yes, we do interfere, but we are entitled to do so, because we are spreading democracy, and you are not, and so you cannot do it.“ Do you think this is a civilised and modern approach to international affairs?
Yesterday, you and I talked about nuclear weapons, and that once the United States and the Soviet Union realised that they were moving towards possible mutual destruction, they agreed on rules of conduct in the security sphere given the availability of weapons of mass destruction. Let us now agree on how to behave in cyberspace, which never used to have such a big role and scope.
Megyn Kelly: Okay, let me ask you.
Okay, so let me ask you: you have stated explicitly you believe that America interfered in Russian elections, right?
Vladimir Putin: And we proposed to the United States and to our partners, back during the Obama Presidency, let’s agree on how we will structure our relationship. We’ll lay down common rules that will be understandable and we will follow them in cyberspace. The initial reaction of President Obama’s administration was negative and then towards the end, towards the very end of his Presidency we were told, yes, that’s interesting, let’s talk about it. But again, everything disappeared, drowned in a swamp. But let’s come to an agreement on this. We’re not opposed to it.
We made a proposal to the United States, our partners back during President Obama’s watch: let us agree on how we build our relations, develop common rules acceptable for all, and adhere to them in cyberspace.
The first reaction of the Obama Administration was negative, but then, at the very end of his presidential term, they told us: ”Yes, it is interesting, let us talk about it.“ But again, everything disappeared and vanished in some swamp. Well, let us agree on this, we are all for it.
Megyn Kelly: Okay. So let me ask you. You’ve stated explicitly you believe that America interfered in Russian elections. Right?
Vladimir Putin: (firm) It (America) does so constantly.
The US does this all the time.
Megyn Kelly: But Russia did not interfere in America’s election.
Vladimir Putin: No. Nor does it intend to. It’s impossible for us to do that.
No, and there are no plans in Russia to do so. It is impossible. It is impossible for us.
Megyn Kelly: Why not? Why wouldn’t you?
Vladimir Putin: First of all. We have our own principles which consists in not allowing anyone to interfere in our internal affairs. And we don’t get into the affairs of others. Those are our principles.
First, we have principles whereby we do not allow others to interfere in our domestic affairs and do not poke our noses into other people’s business. This is a principle we have. This is the first point I wanted to make. My second point is that we do not have a comparable number of tools.
Megyn Kelly: (skeptical) Come on. . .
Come on. Come on.
Vladimir Putin: Second. We don’t have enough tools.
No, we simply cannot do that.
Megyn Kelly: Come on. You told me just yesterday. Cuz we were amping up our missile defense systems, you had to respond in kind with increased nuclear technology. Now you want me to believe that we attack your Russian elections and you say, “We’re going to take the high road.”
You told me just yesterday, because we were amping our missile defence systems, we have to respond in kind with increased nuclear technology. Now you want me to believe that we attacked your Russian elections and you say, we are going to take that road.
Vladimir Putin: This isn’t – we’re not talking about missiles here. This is an entirely different area. That’s for starters. .
This is not a matter of missiles. This is a completely different area.
In addition, we lack the necessary instruments.
Megyn Kelly: Cyber warfare.
Vladimir Putin: Second. We don’t have the tools. This is an entirely different kind of activity. This is no cyber warfare and we don’t have the tools that you have. We don’t have the global mass media like you have, like CNN, like your outlet. What do we have? We only have Russia Today. That’s all we have. That’s our only tool available to us in terms of mass media. And even then, you declared –
This is a completely different area of activity. It has nothing to do with cyber warfare. Russia does not have the kind of tools the US has. We do not have global media outlets comparable to CNN. You think we do? We have Russia Today, and nothing else. This is the only Russian media outlet, and even then, it was designated…
Megyn Kelly: (interferes) You have cyber tools.
Is that cyber tools?
Vladimir Putin: You keep interrupting me. That is not polite.
You keep interrupting me, this is impolite.
Megyn Kelly: Forgive me. Forgive me, sir.
Forgive me, sir.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, so, we have one media outlet – Russia Today. And even that was declared to be a foreign agent and it’s not being allowed to operate in a normal way. And it’s the only one and you have a vast array of them. You have an incredible capacity to work on the Internet. The Internet is yours. All of the means of managing the Internet are in the hands of the United States, and all the tools for running the cyber space allocated in the United States can even compare? It’s simply impossible. Let’s agree on the rules of behavior in this cyber space.
We have one media outlet, Russia Today, and even it was designated as a foreign agent so that it is unable to do its work properly. It is the only media outlet of this kind, while the US has a whole range of outlets, and immense possibilities online. The internet is yours. The United States control all the internet governance tools, all located on US territory. Do you think that a comparison can be made in any way? This is simply impossible. Let us come together and agree on the rules of conduct in cyber space. But it is the US who refuses to do so.
Megyn Kelly: David and Goliath.
David and Goliath. The Mueller indictment is very specific about what the Russians were doing. There is a specific email, a damning email that is cited therein by a female Russian who appears to have been caught red-handed. She says as follows, “We had a slight crisis here at work. The FBI busted our activity. Not a joke. So I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues. I created all these pictures and posts and the Americans believe that it was written by their people.” And now you want to sit here and say you do not have the tools to do it? That we have the market cyber interference? This is just not true.
Vladimir Putin: But you refuse.
Megyn Kelly: The Mueller indictment is very specific about what the Russians were doing. There is a specific email, a damning email that is cited therein by a female Russian who appears to have been caught red-handed. She says as follows, “We had a slight crisis here at work. The F.B.I. busted our activity. Not a joke. So I got pre-occupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues. I created all these pictures of posts and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.” And now you want to sit here and say, you don’t have the tools to do it. That we have the market on cyber interference. That’s just not true.
Vladimir Putin: I don’t even understand what you’re talking about, right now. You know, this is some sort of nonsense. You’ve conducted analysis in Congress of the amount of information that was uploaded to the Internet from some Russian sources. You analyzed the volume of information that had come from such media outlets, we have, as Russia Today. It’s one hundredth of one percent out of the whole of the wealth of information in the United States. It’s a hundredth of a percent, and you think that this one hundredth of one percent had that much of an effect on the outcome of the Presidential election? That’s just nonsense, you know. It’s just the continuation of the same line of thinking. Where those who lost don’t want to admit it. You know, I’ve said this many times already. For example, I don’t understand yet, how the politics of the United States with respect to Russia is going to be structured under the administration of the current President. Many things are still unclear. We still don’t have a normal working relationship. We still don’t have decent lines of communication. But what is absolutely clear is that the sitting President has chosen a certain position domestically. He has placed his bets on individuals who are willing to support the ideas that he took to the election. This is the main reason why he won. Not some kind of outside interference. That’s garbage. Could anyone believe that Russia, thousands of miles away. .
I do not even understand what you are talking about. You see, this is just nonsense. The US Congress analysed the information from Russian sources that appeared online. The information coming from media outlets like Russia Today was also analysed and turned out to be one hundredth of a percent of the overall information flow in the United States, just one hundredth of a percent. Do you think that this fraction had any impact on the election? This is just nonsense, don’t you see? This is the same old business when the people who lost refuse to admit it. You see, I have commented on this on a number of occasions. It has yet to be seen what the US policy toward Russia will be like under the current administration. Many things remain unclear, since we have not yet been able to start working or to establish normal contacts.
However, it is absolutely clear that the current US President adopted a specific stance in terms of domestic policy, and decided to reach out to the people who were ready to support his campaign promises. This is what led to his victory, not any kind of outside interference. To claim otherwise makes no sense. Will anyone believe that Russia, a country located thousands of kilometres away, could use two or three Russians, as you have said, and whom I do not know, to meddle in the elections and influence their outcome? Don’t you think that it sounds ridiculous?
Megyn Kelly: But now
Now you are talking about causation. But I am still on whether you did it. And it is not true that you do not know the individuals who were accused of conducting this. One of your good friends is actually accused of helping conduct this. His name is Yevgeny Prigozhin. Do you know him?
Vladimir Putin: With the help of some two or three Russians like you said, whom I don’t even know, that they interfered and influenced the outcome of the election. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous even to you?
Megyn Kelly: Now you’re talking about causation. But I’m still on whether you did it. It’s not true that you don’t know the individuals that are conducting this. One of your good friends is actually accused of helping to conduct this. He’s Yevgeny Prigozhin. You know him?
Vladimir Putin: I know that person. I wouldn’t consider him one of my friends. This is just twisting the facts around. He is a businessman. He’s involved in the restaurant business and some other business. But he’s not a government official. We don’t have anything to do with him.
I know this man, but he is not a friend of mine. This is just twisting the facts. There is such a businessman; he works in the restaurant business or something. But he is not a state official; we have nothing to do with him.
Megyn Kelly: After you heard that he had been indicted, did you pick up the phone and call him?
After you heard about him being indicted, did you pick up the phone and call him?
Vladimir Putin: Like I have nothing better to do? I’ve got so many things to do and so many ?
Certainly not. I have plenty of other things to worry about.
Megyn Kelly: He’s your friend. He’s just been indicted.
He is your friend. He has been indicted.
Vladimir Putin: (points at his ear) Didn’t you hear what I said? He’s not a friend of mine. I do know this person, but I wouldn’t list him among my friends. Wasn’t I clear? And there is a great number of individuals like that. In Russia, there are 146 million people. Not as many as in the U.S., but still a pretty large number.
Did you hear what I just said? He is not my friend. I know him, but he is not a friend of mine. Was I not clear? There are many people like that. There are 146 million people in Russia. That is less than in the US, but it is still a lot.
Megyn Kelly: He’s pretty prominent.
He is a prominent businessman.
Vladimir Putin: So, he’s well known. So what? There are plenty of well known people in Russia. He is not a government official. He’s not a government employee. He’s just a private individual. A businessman.
A prominent businessman? So what? There are many prominent people in Russia. He is not a state official, he does not work for the government; he is an individual, a businessman.
Megyn Kelly: Some people say his real job is to do your dirty work.
Vladimir Putin: Who are these people? And what dirty work? I don’t engage in any dirty work. Everything I do is out in the open. This is like a stereotype for you. You have someone who likes doing dirty work and you think we do the same. No. That’s not the case.
Who are those people? And what dirty work? I do not do any dirty work. Everything I do is in plain view. This is your prerogative; some people in your country enjoy doing dirty work. You think we do the same. That is not true.
Megyn Kelly: It’s A) the fact that you know him. You admit that. He’s a prominent Russian businessman, and he’s specifically accused of running this operation, and B) this is the same man who’s been accused of sending Russian mercenaries into Syria. And they attacked a compound held by American backed militias. This guy gets around.
It is a) the fact that you know him, you admit that. He is a prominent Russian businessman. And he is specifically accused of running this operation; b) this is the same man who has been accused of sending Russian mercenaries into Syria and they attacked a compound held by American back militia. This guy gets around.
NOTE: Russia has not been inside Syria militarily for many years now. This is all FAKE NEWS as of this March 12, 2018.
Vladimir Putin: You know, this individual may have very diverse interests, including, for example, interests in the area of fuel and energy industry in Syria. However, we do not support him in any way. We do not interfere with him in any way. We do not assist him. It’s his own personal initiative.
You know, this man could have a wide range of interests, including, for example, an interest in the Syrian fuel and energy complex. But we do not support him in any way. We do not get in his way but we do not support him either. It is his own personal initiative.
Megyn Kelly: (skeptical) You didn’t know about this.
You did not know about it?
Vladimir Putin: I do know that there are several companies, a couple of companies that are working there (Syria). Perhaps one of them is his. But this, again, has nothing to do with our policies in Syria. And if he’s doing something, he’s not doing it based on an agreement with us, but most likely based on an agreement with the Syrian authorities or Syrian businesses that he’s working with there. We don’t get involved with that. Does your government get involved with everything that your businesses do? Especially a relatively modest business. It’s essentially a mid-sized business. So does your President get involved in the affairs of every American mid-sized business or something? Isn’t this nonsense?
Well, I know that there are several companies, several Russian companies there, maybe his among others, but this has nothing to do with our policy in Syria. If he does anything there, he does not coordinate it with us; he probably coordinates it with the Syrian authorities or the Syrian businesses he works with. We do not interfere in this. Does your government interfere in every step your businesses take, especially small businesses? It is essentially a medium-sized business. So, does your president interfere in the affairs of every medium-sized US business? That is just nonsense, isn’t it?
Megyn Kelly: If the 13 Russian nationals plus three Russian companies did, in fact, interfere in our elections, is that okay with you?
Vladimir Putin: (big smile at the audacity of her question) I don’t care. I could care less.
I do not care. I do not care at all because they do not represent the government.
Megyn Kelly: (astonished) You could care less?
You do not care?
Vladimir Putin: Because they don’t represent the government. I could care less. They do not represent the interests of the Russian state. And if there is something that is of concern to you, then tell us officially. Send us the document that corroborates that. Explain to us specifically what they are accused of, and then we’ll take a look.
Not at all. They do not represent state interests. If you are worried about anything, state it officially, send us documents proving it and explain what exactly those people are accused of. We will see if they have violated Russian laws…
Megyn Kelly: I did that!
Vladimir Putin: (points his finger up) No. It’s not true. If they violated a Russian law, we will bring them to justice. But if they did not violate a Russian law, then there is nothing to bring them to justice for in Russia. But at the end of the day you must understand that people in Russia live not by American laws, but by Russian laws. That’s how it’s going to be. But if you want to come to some sort of arrangement with us, then let’s sit down at the negotiating table and set an agenda for negotiations and come to an agreement and sign a treaty, but you refuse to do so. I’m telling you for the third time, we proposed working jointly in the area of cyber space, but the U.S. refuses to work officially in that area. They’ve only flagged some thirteen Russians in the media, and maybe they’re not even Russians, maybe they’re Ukrainians, Russians, Jews but just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.
No, this is not true. If they violated Russian law, we will prosecute them. If they did not, there is nothing to prosecute them for in Russia. But after all, you must understand that people in Russia do not live under US law but under Russian law. This is how it is. If you want to reach an agreement with us, let us negotiate, choose the subject, make an agreement and sign it. But you refuse to do this. I am telling you for the third time: we have proposed working together on cyberspace issues. But the US refuses to work like this and instead throws 13 Russians to the media. Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked: maybe they have dual citizenship or a Green Card; maybe, the US paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either.
Megyn Kelly: Well, I’ll give you one piece of evidence. Andrey Krutskikh is an advisor to the Kremlin when it comes to cyber issues, and in his speech to an information security firm in Feb. of 2016, he reportedly said, “I’m warning you, we are on the verge of having something in the information arena which will allow us to talk to the Americans as equals.” What do you think he meant? Cuz it certainly sounds like a threat right before an election hack.
I will give you one piece of evidence. Andrei Krutskikh is an advisor to the Kremlin when it comes to cyber issues. In his speech to an information security forum in February 2016, he reportedly said, quote, “I am warning you. We are on the verge of having something in the information arena which will allow us to talk to the Americans as equals.” What do you think he meant? Because it certainly sounds like a threat right before an election hack.
Vladimir Putin: Sometimes I think that you’re joking.
Sometimes I think you are joking.
Megyn Kelly: No, I’m deadly serious.
Vladimir Putin: So someone said something about their point of view of our contacts and about work in a certain area with our foreign partners, in this case, the U.S. I have no idea what he said. Why don’t you ask him what he meant? Do you really think that I control everything that—
A man says something about how he sees our contacts and our work with our foreign partners, the US in this case, in a certain area. I have no idea what he said. Ask him what he meant. Do you think I control everything?
Megyn Kelly: He’s an advisor to the Kremlin! On Cyber!
He is an advisor to the Kremlin on cyber.
Vladimir Putin: So what! We have two thousand people working in the Presidential Administration. Two thousand. Do you actually think that I’m monitoring everybody? There’s Peskov sitting over there, my press secretary, sometimes he rambles on and on and I watch the T.V. and I’m wondering, what is he talking about? Who authorized him to say that? I have no idea what he said. Why don’t you ask him? Do you think I should be commenting on everything that members of the Presidential Administration and members of the government say? I have my own work to do.
So what? There are 2,000 people working in the administration; do you think I control everyone? Peskov is sitting in front of me, he is my press secretary and he sometimes says things that I see on television and think, what is he talking about? Who told him to say this?
I have no idea what he said. Ask him. Do you really think I can comment on everything administration or government personnel say? I have my own work to do.
Megyn Kelly: I think when it comes to our two countries, you know exactly what’s going on. And this is Russia’s problem now. It is.
Vladimir Putin: (shrugs shoulders)
Megyn Kelly: The heads of our U.S. Intelligence Agencies just testified to Congress that Russia, Russia poses the biggest threat in the world to American security. Greater than ISIS. You can’t get the sanctions lifted. The relationship between our two countries is nearly non-existent right now. Didn’t this interference with – whether you knew or didn’t know about it – backfire, against Russia.
I think when it comes to our two countries you know exactly what is going on. And this is Russia’s problem now. It is. The heads of the US intelligence agencies just testified to Congress that Russia, Russia poses the greatest threat in the world to the American security, greater than ISIS. You cannot get the sanctions lifted. The relationship between our two countries is nearly non-existent right now. Did not this interference, whether you knew or you did not know about it, backfire against Russia?
Vladimir Putin: (looking irritated) Look. You’re exaggerating everything. Like I don’t know that somebody said something over here and have no intention of commenting on these statements. I’m not monitoring what’s going on over there in your Congress. I’m more interested in what’s happening in our State Duma, whether or not they adopt a certain law that’s needed to deal with this or that issue in public health, or the Housing and Utilities Industry, or whether they’re dragging their feet on certain matters or whether some interests are being lobbied on some other law that is not being passed in the area of Environmental Protection or Forestry, or the Environment – that’s what occupies my time. What your Congress is discussing over there, why don’t you watch it yourself? Like I’ve got nothing better to do than follow that?
Listen, you are exaggerating. I do not know about someone saying something and I am not going to comment on it, and neither do I follow what is going on at your Congress.
I am more interested in what is going on at the State Duma, if they have approved a bill on a healthcare or utilities issue; if they delay certain discussions or not. Is a special interest lobbying against a nature conservation, or forestry, or environmental law? This is what I am interested in. You should follow what they are discussing in Congress; I have enough on my plate without that.
Megyn Kelly: You know that the sanctions haven’t been lifted. You know that the relationship between our two countries is at, not an all time low, but it’s getting there. And, this is, in part, the reason. And so Russian interference in the American election is important.
You know that the sanctions have not been lifted. You know that the relationship between our two countries is at not an all-time low but is getting there. And this is in part the reason. And so, Russian interference in the American elections is important.
Vladimir Putin: Listen. Sanctions have nothing whatsoever to do with some mythical interference by Russia in the U.S. elections. Sanctions have to do with something completely different. The desire to stop the development of Russia. To contain Russia. This policy of containing Russia is decades old now. It’s an on and off policy. Now they have come back to it. This is a wrong-headed policy. It causes harm, not just to the Russian-American relationship, but also to the American businesses, because that is providing room to the competitors to American business in our markets. You and I were at the Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, and the biggest delegation of business representatives was from the United States. People do want to work with us. And they’re not allowed to. They are being constrained so as to contain Russia. They keep containing and containing in particular in order to prevent our defense industry from making progress. So yesterday, you and I talked about it. Did it work? No. It didn’t work. They were unable to contain Russia. And they never will. This is just, you know, an attempt with means that are—
Listen, sanctions 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. This policy of containing Russia has been pursued for decades, on and off. Now it is back. 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 our 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. They have been contained and contained so that our defence industry cannot develop, among other things. We discussed this yesterday. Did they manage to achieve anything? No, they did not: they have never managed to contain Russia and never will. It is simply, you know, an attempt with tools that…
Megyn Kelly: In cyber? Can we contain Russia in cyber warfare?
Can we contain Russia in cyber warfare?
Vladimir Putin: I don’t think that Russia can be contained anywhere. This is something that must be understood. Look. You can’t contain North Korea. So what are you talking about? And why do it in the first place? Why contain one another? Why attack one another? Why suspect one another? My suggestion is—
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.
Megyn Kelly: That’s my question to you. Why, why would you interfere in our election time and time again. And why wouldn’t you for that matter? Let me put it to you that way.
Vladimir Putin: (laughs and nods his head in disbelief)
NOTE: Personal opinion. Megyn suffers from Putin Derangement Syndrome. She seems much more relaxed around the clone, I’ve noticed.
Megyn Kelly: You’ve spent a day, every time I’ve seen you, in St. Petersburg, in Moscow, and now here in Kaliningrad telling me that America has interfered in Russia’s electoral process and that Russia has a robust cyber warfare arsenal. And yet you want us to believe you did not deploy it. You understand how implausible that seems, sir?
That is my question to you. That is my question to you. Why, why would you interfere in our election time and time again? And why would not you, for that matter? Let me put it to you that way. You have spent a day, every time I have seen you, in St Petersburg, in Moscow and now here in Kaliningrad, telling me that America has interfered in Russia’s electoral process and that Russia has a robust cyber warfare arsenal. And yet you want us to believe that you did not deploy it. Do you understand how implausible that seems, sir?
Vladimir Putin: It absolutely doesn’t seem implausible to me. Because it’s not our goal to interfere. We do not see what goal we would accomplish by interfering. There is no goal. So let’s say we put a
Megyn Kelly: (tries to talk) It’s a, it’s a
Vladimir Putin: So let’s say we set a goal of interfering. For what? For the sake of interfering? What is the goal?
That does not seem implausible to me at all, because we do not have such a goal, to interfere. We do not see what we have to gain by interfering. There is no such goal. Let us suppose this was our goal. Why, just for the sake of it? What is the goal?
Megyn Kelly: Creating chaos. That’s the goal.
Vladimir Putin: Listen to me. Recently President Trump said something that was right on target. He said that if Russia had set itself the goal of creating chaos, it has accomplished that. However, it did not happen because of our interference. It happened because of your political system. Your domestic strife, confusion and partisanship. Russia has absolutely nothing to do with it. Absolutely nothing. We have nothing to do with it. Why don’t you set your own house in order first. On the other hand, putting the question the way I had told you about, that you have the right to interfere everywhere because you are spreading Democracy everywhere all over the place and we don’t, that is exactly what instigates conflicts. One needs to respect their partners and then you will be treated with respect.
Listen to me. Not long ago President Trump said something absolutely correct. He said that if Russia’s goal was to sow chaos, it has succeeded. But it is not the result of Russian interference, but your political system, the internal struggle, the disorder and division. Russia has nothing to do with it whatsoever. Get your own affairs in order first. And the way the question is framed, as I mentioned – that you can interfere anywhere because you bring democracy, but we cannot – is what causes conflicts. You have to show your partners respect, and they will respect you.
Megyn Kelly: You once said, Mr. President, that you believed the interference in our election was done by some patriotic Russians. An answer like that will lead people to ask, “Are you the patriotic Russian?”
Vladimir Putin: I, am the President of the Russian Federation. And part of my responsibility under the Constitution is to deal with a vast number of issues involving protecting the interests of the Russian Federation. When I talked about individuals who were patriotically minded, I meant that against a background of a deteriorating Russian-American relationship, one can imagine a situation where people who use cyber space can express their points of view including their opinions on the World Wide Web. Of course, they can. Can we really forbid them to? But, we do not control it. And, what’s most important is, we do not manage it. This is not the position of the Russian state.
I am the President of the Russian Federation. It is my constitutional duty to address a host of issues concerning the protection of Russia’s interests. When I spoke of patriotic people, I meant that you can imagine that, in the face of a deteriorating Russian-US relationship, people – and people use cyberspace – will express their points of view, their opinions, including on this global network. Of course, they are free to do so. How can we really prohibit it? But we cannot control it and, most importantly, we are not directing it. Please note that this is not the position of the Russian state.
Megyn Kelly: You can’t? The Russian intelligence services cannot find out who’s doing this? Bring it to your attention? You’re unable to stop it?
You cannot? The Russian intelligence services cannot find out who is doing this, bring it to your attention? You are unable to stop it?
Vladimir Putin: Well, maybe. If we started doing it in a purposeful way, we probably could identify these individuals if they did exist. But we don’t have that objective or that goal. We offer you official negotiations. You refuse. You want us, just, at the snap of Congress’s fingers to just start running around here and carrying on some sort of investigations over here. Let’s sit down and sign an agreement on working in cyber space, and then stick to it. What do you want? Things in international relations aren’t done in any other way.
Perhaps if we looked into it carefully we would find those people, if they exist. But we have no such goal. We propose holding official talks and you refuse. So what do you want? For us to open investigations just because Congress said so? Let us sit down, sign an agreement on working in cyberspace and comply with it. How do you want to do it? There is no other way of conducting international affairs.
Megyn Kelly: So you have no goal to stop it. So what does that mean for our elections in 2018 and 2020? We can expect more of the same?
So you have no goal to stop it. So what does that mean for our elections in 2018 and 2020? We can expect more of the same?
Vladimir Putin: I didn’t say we didn’t have the goal of putting an end to it.
I did not say that stopping it is not a goal. I said we had…
Megyn Kelly: You just said that.
Vladimir Putin: No. No. I did not say that. What I said is that we do not interfere in the private lives of our people and we can’t prevent them from expressing their points of view, including on the Internet. But I also said that the official position of the Russian state is that we do not interfere as a state in the internal political processes of other countries. This is the most important thing and this is what I’d like to register in our conversation today. So that people in the United States understand that.
No, I did not. I said we do not interfere in our people’ private lives and cannot stop them from expressing their opinion, including on the internet. But I also said that Russia’s official position is that we do not interfere in the political processes of other countries as a state. That is the most important part. I want it to be recorded in our conversation today, for people in the US to understand this.
Megyn Kelly: And forgive me but I’m trying to get to one level below that. Whether you have the goal of stopping your own citizens from behaving in this manner which is – undermine relationships between our two countries.
And forgive me, but I am trying to get to one level below that, whether you have the goal of stopping your own citizens from behaving in this manner, which has undermined relationships between our two countries?
Vladimir Putin: (getting disgusted) I would like to tell you that we will impede anything that violates Russian laws or our international obligations. I’m telling you this for the third or fourth time already. I repeat. We are prepared to sign an appropriate agreement with the United States. You are still refusing. Let’s sit down at the negotiating table. Let’s choose what we consider to be important. Let’s sign that document.
NOTE: My recent laws have done just that.
I want to say that we will stand in the way of everything that violates Russian law or our international agreements. For the third or fourth time, I will say that we are ready to sign a corresponding agreement with the United States. You still refuse. Let us sit down at the negotiating table, identify what we consider important, sign the document and comply with it with proper verification.
Vladimir Putin: And let’s have both sides comply with that. And let’s verify it and check compliance in an appropriate way.
Megyn Kelly: (snarky) You were President, sir, and respectfully I still didn’t hear an answer about whether you want to crack down on Russians who are committing these crimes. It sounds like the answer is “no”. If I’m wrong, please correct me. I understand you want a negotiation with the United States directly. But internally you could put a stop to this, if you had the desire.
You are the President, sir. Respectfully, I still did not hear an answer about whether you want to crack down on the Russians who committed those crimes. It sounds like the answer is no. If I am wrong, please correct me. I understand you want a negotiation with the United States directly. But internally, you could put a stop to this if you had the desire.
Vladimir Putin: (getting angry) Listen to what I’m saying. I want you to hear what I’m saying. We will stand in the way of anything that violates existing Russian laws. If the actions of our citizens, no matter what those actions are, and no matter who in the outside world they are directed against, violate existing Russian laws, we will respond to that. If they do not violate Russian laws, then there’s no way we can.
I want you to listen to me. We will counter anything that violates current Russian law. If the actions of our citizens – no matter what they are and whom they target – violate current Russian laws, we will respond. If they do not violate Russian law, we cannot respond.
Megyn Kelly: Would this?
Vladimir Putin: One second. We cannot respond to that. We cannot react to that if they do not violate Russian laws. There would be nothing to bring them to justice for.
With anything. If no Russian law has been broken, no one can be held accountable.
Megyn Kelly: Would this violate Russian law?
Will this violate Russian law?
Vladimir Putin: I have to see first what they’ve done. Give us the materials.
I must look at what they have done. Give us the materials. Nobody has given us anything.
Megyn Kelly: You know what it is. Hacking into the Democratic National Convention. Hacking into John Podesta’s email. Creating interference in our election by creating bots that spread false information on Twitter, on Facebook. Spreading misinformation when it comes to Black Lives Matter, when it comes to the shooting we just had in Parkland, Florida. When it comes to our Presidential election. Spreading fake news in order to alter the course of a Presidential race. That’s what I’m talking about.
You know this. Hacking into the Democratic National Committee, hacking into John Podesta’s email, creating interference in our election by creating bots that spread false information on Twitter, on Facebook. Spreading this information when it comes to Black Lives Matter, when it comes to the shooting we just had in Parkland, Florida, when it comes to our presidential election. Spreading fake news in order to alter the course of the presidential race. That is what I am talking about.
Vladimir Putin: (calming down, trying to reason) You know, with all due respect for you personally. With all due respect for the members of the Congress of the United States and we do respect all these individuals. I want you to understand once and for all. After all, you do have people with legal degrees there, don’t you? You probably do. I’m one hundred percent sure that there are and there are people who are educated, who must understand and know that we in Russia cannot prosecute anyone as long as they have not violated Russian law. Moreover we cannot even open an investigation if there is not cause for that. Our conversation today cannot be the cause for that. Nor can a Congressional investigation of this fact in the U.S. do so. At the very least, send us an official request outlining the facts. Send us an official document. A conversation on the air cannot be the cause for—
With all due respect for you personally and for the body of the people’s representatives, the US Congress – and we treat all these people with respect – I want you to really understand this. Do you have people with training in law? Of course, you do. One hundred percent. Highly educated people. We cannot even launch an investigation without cause. Our conversation today or an inquiry in the US Congress is not sufficient cause. Give us at least an official inquiry with a statement of facts, send us an official paper. After all, a conversation on air cannot be grounds for an investigation.
Megyn Kelly: Intelligence agencies in the United States. Now a special prosecutor with a criminal indictment. That’s not enough for you to look into it?
The intelligence agencies in the United States, now a special prosecutor with a criminal indictment – that is not enough for you to look into it?
Vladimir Putin: (adamant) Absolutely not! And if you don’t have a legal degree, I can tell you. For that, you need a request through
Absolutely not. If you do not have legal training, I can assure you that an inquiry is required for this.
Megyn Kelly: I DO.
NOTE: In the United States, Loree McBride lawyers have no regard for the law. They think they are ABOVE THE LAW.
Vladimir Putin: Well, in that case, you must understand that what it takes is an official request to the Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation. And, even THEN, we don’t even have an agreement with you whereby we could act. At least, send us a piece of paper.
Then you should understand that a corresponding official inquiry should be sent to the Prosecutor-General’s Office of the Russian Federation. That said, we do not even have a treaty on how to proceed. But send us something in writing at least.
Megyn Kelly: (astonished) Vladimir Putin could not order an investigation into whether this was done in a way that undermines its relations with a major, a major partner, the United States of America?
NOTE: Loree McBride Jesuits are SO ARROGANT and filled with their own self-importance.
Vladimir Putin could not order an investigation into whether this was done in a way that undermines its relations with a major partner, the United States of America?
Vladimir Putin: Give us a document. Give us an official request.
Give us something in writing, an official inquiry. We will look at it.
Megyn Kelly: You said that the last time and now I’m back with an indictment.
Vladimir Putin: And now the same this year. And now, there is no document. Give us a request for information. A document addressed to the Prosecutor General. You must use official channels. Not the mass media. And not yelling by the U.S. Congress with accusations against us which are completely uncorroborated. Give us a document.
There is nothing in writing. Send an inquiry to the Prosecutor-General’s Office. It is necessary to go through official channels rather than with the help of the media and harsh words in the US Congress, levelling accusations against us that are totally unsubstantiated. Give us something in writing.
Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you this. You were President back in 2001, when the F.B.I. arrested one of its own, Robert Hanssen for spying for the Russian Federation. In retaliation, Pres. George W. Bush kicked fifty alleged Russian spies out of the United States and the Kremlin did the same, throwing fifty Americans out of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow immediately. This is a tradition that goes back for decades. December 16th, after our Intelligence Agencies agreed that Russians interfered in our election, President Obama expelled dozens of Russians and seized two Russian owned properties and yet, you did nothing, you did nothing in response. Why not?
Let me ask you this: you were President back in 2001 when the FBI arrested one of its own, Robert Hanssen, for spying for the Russian Federation. In retaliation, President George W. Bush kicked 50 illegit Russian spies out of the United States, and the Kremlin did the same, throwing 50 Americans out of the US Embassy in Moscow immediately. This is a tradition that goes back for decades. December 2016: after our intelligence agencies agreed that Russians interfered in our election President Obama expelled dozens of Russians and seized two Russian-owned properties. And yet, you did nothing, you did nothing in response. Why not?
Vladimir Putin: We believed, and I still believe, that this was completely baseless first of all. Secondly, it was also clearly done in contradiction to the Vienna Convention and the International Law, the Vienna Convention on International Relationships. It was a gross violation of the International Law, a completely unfounded seizure of our property. We really hoped that there would be some response from the new administration. But since that hasn’t happened. I’ve said and so has the foreign minister, then we will seek to protect our interests in the appropriate courts of the United States.
We believed and I still believe that there were no grounds for this whatsoever. This is the first point.
Secondly, this was done in clear violation of international law and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The totally groundless seizure of our property constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. We were strongly hoping for a response from the new Administration. But since none is forthcoming – and I have already said this and the Foreign Minister repeated this – we will turn to the appropriate courts of the United States to protect our interests.
Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you about President Trump. Any time he says anything about you, it is supremely deferential, never a harsh word for you. Although if you look at the way he speaks about members of his own party, even of his own staff, never mind that they’re political leaders, he frequently personally insults them. Why do you think he’s so nice to you?
Let me ask you about President Trump. Any time he says anything about you it is supremely deferential. Never a harsh word for you. Although if you look at the ways he speaks about members of his own party, even members of his own staff, never mind of the other political leaders, he frequently personally insults them. Why do you think he is so nice to you?
Vladimir Putin: I don’t believe he treats me personally with reverence. I believe that he’s an experienced individual. He’s a businessman with vast experience. And he understands that if it is necessary to establish a cooperative relationship with someone, then you have to treat your current or potential partner with respect. Otherwise, nothing will come of it. I think this is a purely pragmatic approach, personally. Secondly, despite the fact that he’s a first time President, still he’s a quick study, after all. And he understands very well that this level, where we are engaging in mutual accusations and insults, this is a road to nowhere. It would mean the last chance to engage in a dialogue. The very last chance. And that would be extremely unfortunate. And, if you have noticed, I always treat my colleagues, not only in the United States and in Europe and in Asia with unwavering respect.
This is not about being nice to me personally, in my view. I think he is an experienced person, a businessman with very extensive experience and he understands that if you need to partner with someone, you must treat your future or current partner with respect, otherwise nothing will come of it. I think this is a purely pragmatic approach. This is my first point.
Second, even though this is his first term as President, he is a quick study, and he understands perfectly well that trading accusations or insults at our level is a road to nowhere. It would just mean depriving our countries of their last chance for dialogue, simply the last chance. This would be extremely unfortunate.
You may have noticed that I, for my part, show respect to him and all my other colleagues, not only in the United States, but also Europe and Asia.
Megyn Kelly: You may. But the truth is, our President has referred to the leader of North Korea as little rocket man. So, he’s not quite as diplomatic, depending on who he’s talking about. I’m sure you saw that, yes?
You may, but the truth is our President has referred to the leader of North Korea as “little rocket man.” So he is not quite as diplomatic depending on who he is talking about. I am sure you saw that, yes?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I’ve heard. And you know our reaction to this. We call on everyone to show reserve.
Yes, I did. You are aware of our position on that account. We urge everyone to show restraint.
Megyn Kelly: So, what do you think of President Trump?
Vladimir Putin: It is not really an appropriate question because assessing the work of President Trump is something that his voters, the American people, should be doing. But what I would note is that whether or not somebody likes it or doesn’t like it, we may not like certain things either, he is nevertheless doing everything possible to fulfill those campaign promises that he made to the American people. Well, what can I say? He has been consistent in this regard. And I believe that in fact this is the only proper way to affirm one’s respect for the people who cast their votes for him.
The question is not entirely appropriate, because President Trump’s work should be assessed by his constituents, the American people. There is one thing I would like to say: like it or not – we may dislike certain things as well – he does his best to keep the election promises that he made to the American people. So, he is consistent in this sense. I think that, in fact, this is the only proper way to show respect for the people who voted for him.
Megyn Kelly: He’s praised your leadership. Is he an effective leader?
Vladimir Putin: Well again. It’s up to the American people to decide. But he clearly has leadership qualities. There it’s clearly present, because he takes responsibility for making decisions. Again, whether or not someone likes these decisions or not, he makes them nonetheless. That is undoubtedly a sign of having these leadership qualities.
Well, again, this is up to the American people to decide. He has strong leadership qualities, of course, because he takes responsibility when he makes decisions. To reiterate, whether some people like his decisions or not, he still goes ahead and does it. This, of course, is a sign of leadership qualities.
Megyn Kelly: Do you ever read his tweets?
Vladimir Putin: No
No, I do not.
Megyn Kelly: Do you ever tweet?
Vladimir Putin: No.
Megyn Kelly: Why not?
Vladimir Putin: I have other ways of expressing my point of view or implementing a decision. Donald is a more modern individual.
I have other means of expressing my point of view or making decisions. Well, Donald is a more modern person.
Megyn Kelly: Would you say he’s more colorful than you are?
Vladimir Putin: Perhaps.
Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you one question going back to the election interference issue. There are two theories on you. Two theories on you at least. One, is that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State you felt that she interfered with elections here (Russia) in 2011 and 2012, inciting protests here, including against you and it made you angry. Two, is that when the Panama Papers were leaked showing a massive money trail that led to you and some of your associates that that was the last straw for you.
Let me ask you one question going back to the election interference issue. There are two theories on you at least. One is that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State you felt that she interfered with the elections here in 2011 and 2012, inciting protests here, including against you and it made you angry. Two is when the Panama Papers were leaked showing a massive money trail that led to you and some of your associates that that was the last drop for you. Do either of those things make you angry?
Vladimir Putin: (smiles in resignation)
Megyn Kelly: Either of those things make you angry?
Vladimir Putin: That’s completely nuts. As far as Hillary is concerned, I know her personally. And, on the whole, always, whenever we met, we had very good dialogue.
NOTE: Hillary Clinton turned evil around 2015 to 2016. Before then, she was not too bad to me and Vladimir.
Vladimir Putin: I don’t quite understand why at some point it seems that her advisors suggested she focus part of her campaign on criticizing what is happening in our country. But that’s their choice. I never held her personally responsible for that and it’s just a certain line of behavior. As far as all those dossiers, that’s just complete garbage. They mention somebody from among my friends and acquaintances. So what? And as everyone knows, nothing came of it. It’s all just garbage and nonsense, just media noise. I have already forgotten about it.
NOTE: Vladimir’s opinion of the Western press is about the same as mine. They are full of B.S.
This is complete nonsense. Speaking about Hillary, I know her personally, and we generally always maintained a good dialogue every time we met. I cannot understand why at some stage… Her advisers probably suggested that she focus part of her election campaign on criticising developments in Russia. Well, it was their choice. I never took it personally. It was just their policy.
As for all those files, this is complete nonsense. They mention some of my friends. So what? As you know, this has had no effect whatsoever. This is nothing but nonsense and media chatter. I have forgotten all about it. I do not remember what it was all about. Actually, nothing of this kind can make me angry. I am guided by pragmatic considerations, not emotions.
Vladimir Putin: I have a hard time remembering now what it was all about. And, on the whole, there is nothing that can make me angry in that regard. I’m guided by pragmatic considerations. Not emotions.
Megyn Kelly: Since you mention it. A friend of yours mentioned in those Panama Papers, let me ask you about, Sergei Roldugin
Vladimir Putin: (laughs with warmth)
Megyn Kelly: Legend has it that this guy introduced you to your ex-wife.
NOTE: Vladimir’s ex-wife was Jesuit agent Lyudmila, so Sergei Roldugin actually introduced Vladimir to Larisa (his dead wife’s REAL NAME who died in 2000).
Megyn Kelly: That he’s godfather to one of your daughters. He’s a cellist by trade. Right?
Since you mention it, a friend of yours was mentioned in those Panama Papers. Let me ask you about him. Sergei Roldugin. Legend has it that this guy introduced you to your ex-wife, that he is the godfather to one of your daughters. He is a cellist by trade, right?
Vladimir Putin: Yes. So I know this person very well. He is one of my friends. He is a remarkable musician. His entire life has been dedicated to the arts and to music. And, by the way, we have many in the arts, who, in one way or another are involved in business. Aside from me, he has other connections in this country (Russia) including representatives in the world of business who got him involved in this work. He legally made a certain amount of money. He never made hundreds of billions. All the money he has earned personally, he has spent on acquiring musical instruments overseas and bringing them to the territory of the Russian Federation. Some of those instruments he plays himself. Well, in effect, it’s just the one, the cello. He plays the cello.
Yes, I know him very well. He is a friend and a wonderful musician. He has devoted his life to art and music. By the way, many artists here are also involved in business one way or another. Apart from me, Sergey also has other ties in the country, including business people who have involved him in this work. He has made his money legally. He has not made hundreds of billions [of dollars]. Everything he earned he has spent on the purchase of musical instruments abroad, which he has brought to Russia. He uses some of these instruments personally, for example the cello. He plays the cello.
Megyn Kelly: A twelve million dollar Stradivarius.
A $12 million Stradivarius.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. I think that’s what it is. Something along those lines.
Yes, something like that. But it is a unique instrument.
Megyn Kelly: A lot of money.
That is a lot of money.
Vladimir Putin: But it’s one of a kind instrument. (joking) Yes, but imagine he’s the kind of crazy person, and, you know, artists, they’re all a little bit off. He’s spent all of his money on acquiring musical instruments. I think he has bought a couple of cellos, two violins. One he plays himself. All the others he has given away to other musicians and they use them in their work. They were all brought to Russian soil.
NOTE: THE TRANSLATOR AT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE (IN RED) SEEMS TO MAKE VLADIMIR APPEAR TO BE ONE WHO WOULD NOT LIKE ME (A WRITER) AND BRENT SPINER (AN ACTOR).
Yes, it is. He must be eccentric, but then, all artists are eccentric. To spend all this money on musical instruments. I think he bought two cellos and two violins. He plays one himself and has given the others to other musicians, who are playing them. He has brought all these instruments to Russia.
Megyn Kelly: But according to the Panama Papers, this massive series of leaked documents about off share bank accounts, he’s got assets, this cellist, of at least a hundred million dollars, including a one-eighth stake in Russia’s biggest T.V. ad agency, a six million dollar yacht, a stake in a truck manufacturer, a three percent interest in a Russian bank. He must be one heck of a musician.
According to the Panama Papers, this mass of series of leaked documents about offshore bank accounts, he has got assets, this cellist, of at least a $100 million, including a one-eighth stake in Russia’s biggest TV ad agency, a $6 million yacht, a stake in a truck manufacturer, a 3-percent interest in a Russian bank. He must be one heck of a musician.
Vladimir Putin: You know, I’m not aware of his business affairs, of what he does, but, believe me, I know for certain that his actual income is just enough to buy those musical instruments. Everything else is just paper. It’s just moving paper around. He has nothing else except what he’s acquired.
Well, I know nothing about his business, but I do know that he has only enough money to buy these musical instruments. All the rest is on paper. He does not have anything else apart from what he has bought. Maybe he does have something else, but you should ask him about it. I do not control his life.
Megyn Kelly: People think
Vladimir Putin: He might have something else, but then again, you should ask him that. I don’t run his life.
Megyn Kelly: But the question is how a cellist makes that much money. People ask it because many people believe that’s really your money.
But the question is how a cellist makes that much money? People ask it because many people believe that is really your money.
Vladimir Putin: Listen. Look at many of our artists. You probably have people like that yourself. You also have representatives of the arts community, including individuals in Hollywood, some of whom own restaurants, some of them stocks. Aren’t there enough people like that in the show business industry in the United States? There are plenty. A lot more than we have. And we have a lot of them. Artists who, in addition to their creative endeavors, also engage in business, a great deal. He’s one of them. So what? After all. The question isn’t about whether or not he’s involved, whether or not he made a profit, the question is whether or not he broke any laws. According to my information, he hasn’t broken any laws.
Listen, just look at many Russian art figures, and probably there are people like this in your country as well. After all, there are art personalities in the US, including Hollywood celebrities who either run restaurants or own some stock. Aren’t there many people like this in the US entertainment industry and art world? I am sure that there are many people of this kind, and more than in Russia. In Russia, there are also quite a few art figures who do business apart from their creative work. In fact, there are many such people, and he is just one of them. So what? The question is not whether he runs a business or not or whether he made a profit or not. The question is whether there were any violations. As far as I know, he did not commit any violations.
Megyn Kelly: Right. There’s no issue with making money. I’m an American. We’re capitalists. The question is whether that’s really your money.
That is right. There is no issue with making money. I am an American, we are capitalists. The question is whether that is really your money.
Vladimir Putin: It definitely isn’t my money. Like I said, I haven’t even calculated how much money Sergei Roldugin has, as I said. But according to my information, in his activities, both creative endeavors and in his business activities, he has never broken any laws . Not one Russian law. Not one Russian regulation.
This is not my money, that is for sure. I do not even know how much Mr Roldugin has, as I have already said. As far as I know, he has not committed any violations in his business and creative undertakings, he did not violate any Russian law or norm.
Megyn Kelly: Speaking of money. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, in the wake of multiple bankruptcies, the Trump organization found it hard to secure loans in the United States, and looked elsewhere. Mr. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. said ten years ago and I quote, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Were you aware of the degree of Russian money flowing to Trump properties?
Speaking of money, back in the 1980s and 1990s, in the wake of multiple bankruptcies, the Trump Organisation found it hard to secure loans in the United States and looked elsewhere. Mr Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., said that ten years ago and I quote, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Were you aware of the degree of Russian money flowing into properties?
Vladimir Putin: This is all garbage. There wasn’t any flow investment into Trump properties in Russia as far as I know. I don’t even know if there were any serious plans like that. Yes, yes, yes. Listen. You keep imagining that the whole world revolves around you. That is not the case.
Vladimir Putin: This is all nonsense. There were no investments in Trump properties in Russia, as far as I know. I do not even know if there were any serious plans for making these investments.
Megyn Kelly: Come on.
Vladimir Putin: Look, you keep thinking that the whole world revolves around you. That is not the way it is.
Megyn Kelly: It’s not about me. It’s about what Donald Trump Jr. says.
Vladimir Putin: Well. You think that we all know what Donald Trump’s son said. That is not the case. Now, Donald came over here to Russia. Even before he was a candidate. I didn’t even know that he had been here. Well. In other words, I found out after the fact. I was told that he, in fact, had been in Russia. I had no clue that he was in Russia. I also have no idea what his son said regarding this. Listen. I don’t know what he has said. Has he violated anything? His son? Donald Trump’s? If he has violated something, then file a complaint against him. If he hasn’t violated anything, why are you clinging to his every word?
Do you think we know everything what Donald Trump’s son has said? You see, this is not the way things are. Donald came here to Russia when he was not even nominated. I did not even know that he had been to Russia. I learned about it only afterwards, when I was told that as it turned out he had been to Russia. By the same token, I ignore what his son said on this occasion. Did Donald Trump’s son infringe on any rules or laws? If so, charge him. If he did not, why do you keep picking on every word?
Megyn Kelly: Years ago, before Donald Trump ran for President, he said he knew you and that he spoke with you a lot. Is that true?
Years ago, before Donald Trump ran for president, he said he knew you and he spoke with you a lot. Is that true?
Vladimir Putin: No, no. I never met him. Before his Presidency? Before he ran?
No, I had never met him. You mean before he became President and before he decided to run for President, right?
Megyn Kelly: Before he ran.
Vladimir Putin: No. I didn’t know him. I had never even talked to him on the phone or otherwise.
No, we had not met. We never talked to each other, neither by phone or otherwise.
Megyn Kelly: You are poised to be re-elected for your fourth term as President here in Russia, right?
Vladimir Putin: Well, we’ll see. It’s up to the Russian voters.
We will see what the Russian voters decide.
Megyn Kelly: How does somebody like Vladimir Putin, who’s as popular as you are here in Russia, feel any threat from (Alexei) Navalny. I realize he’s gotten in legal trouble. But couldn’t you pardon this guy and let him mount a meaningful challenge to you?
How does somebody like Vladimir Putin, who is as popular as you are here in Russia, feel any threat from Navalny? I realise he has got in legal trouble, but could you pardon this guy and let him mount a meaningful challenge to you?
Vladimir Putin: The question as to whom I’ll cooperate with and who I’d want to cooperate with, I can answer absolutely candidly. I would like to cooperate with those people, and I’m prepared to do so, who are trying to make Russia a stronger, more competitive, more effective country, a country that is self sufficient. But, for that, the people who you and I are talking about, need to have a clear, precise program of action geared at fostering Russia’s development in the current conditions. There are people like that. Including—
As for the question about whom I could work together with and whom I would not want to work together with, I can tell you in all honesty that I would like to and am ready to work with people who want Russia to become a stronger, more effective, competitive and self-reliant country. But to achieve that, the people we are talking about should have a clear plan of action designed to promote national development in today’s environment. There are people like that, including …
Megyn Kelly: But Navalny’s such a man. And has a fair amount of popularity here in Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Anybody can be pardoned as long as he deserves it.
Any person can be pardoned if he deserves it.
Megyn Kelly: Why don’t you?
Vladimir Putin: As long as he deserves it. Meaning, there are no exceptions here for anyone. No exceptions. But we’re not talking about pardoning someone here. We’re talking about certain political forces. They don’t have a program for developing the country. What is positive about them, and what in theory I like, is that they’re identifying problems. And that’s actually good. It’s the right thing to do and it’s necessary. But for a country to develop in a positive way, it’s not enough. It’s not enough at all. Because if you’re only focused on problems exclusively, it’s not just that it’s not enough, but it actually dangerous cuz it may lead to certain kind of destruction. Whereas, we, need to create things.
If he deserves it. There are no exceptions for anyone. No exceptions. But we are not talking about pardon now; we are talking about certain political forces. They do not have a development programme for the country. What do they have that is positive and what I like? That they expose problems, and this is actually good, this is the right thing to do, and it needs to be done. But this is not enough for the country’s progressive development, simply not enough. Because focusing on problems is not enough; moreover, it is even dangerous, because it can lead to destruction, while we need creation.
Megyn Kelly: Our political analysts tell me you’re exactly right about your chances in the upcoming election, that you have no meaningful opponent, so you will likely win. What’s next, after that? The Chinese President just abolished term limits. Is that something you would ever do?
Our political analysts tell me you are exactly right about your chances in the upcoming election, that you have no meaningful opponents so you will likely win. What is next after that? The Chinese President just abolished term limits. Is that something you would ever do?
Vladimir Putin: I do not think that now during this meeting, in this conversation we’re having, in this interview with American television is the appropriate platform for me to talk about my political plans. But I think I did tell you yesterday that I said I never amended the Constitution and particularly I have never done so to suit my own interests. And I don’t have any such plans today. As far as China is concerned, before taking a critical view of certain decisions made by a country like China, one must keep in mind and remember that they have 1.5 billion people living there. And keeping that in mind, we must come to the conclusion that we all have an interest in China being a stable and prosperous nation. How best to achieve that, I believe, is best understood by the Chinese people themselves, and the Chinese leadership.
I do not think that I should talk about my political plans with you now at this meeting, in this conversation, in this interview for American television. But I think I told you yesterday, I never changed the Constitution or adjusted it to my needs, and I do not have any such plans today.
As for China, before criticising decisions in a country like China, you need to think and recall that there are 1.5 billion people living there and, after thinking about it, you need to come to the conclusion that we all are interested in China being a stable and prosperous state. How it should be done best, it is probably up to the Chinese people and the Chinese leadership.
Megyn Kelly: Can you leave power? Because some of the experts we’ve spoken to have said it would be near impossible for you because someone in your position would likely be either thrown in jail by your adversaries, or worse. They said it’s actually sad that you will have to stay in power in order to stay well.
Can you leave power? Because some of the experts that we have spoken to have said it would be near impossible for you because someone in your position would likely either be thrown in jail by your adversaries or worse. They say it is actually sad that you will have to stay in power in order to stay well.
Vladimir Putin: (coughs and laughs) Your so-called experts engage in wishful thinking. I have heard a ton of nonsense on this matter. Why are you so certain that the people who come to power in Russia after me, would like to destroy everything I have done in the last few years? Perhaps on the contrary, there are people who will want to strengthen Russia, to create a future for it, to create a platform to foster future generations. Why do you think that it will be destroyers who will come? Who will want to destroy and annihilate everything? Perhaps some do want that, including some in the United States. But I don’t think that they’re right because I believe that the United States as a matter of fact has an interest in something else. That is in Russia being a stable, prosperous and developing nation. If, of course, you have the ability to look at least twenty-five or fifty years ahead.
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. But 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.
Megyn Kelly: Have you groomed a successor? Is there anyone in mind?
Have you groomed a successor? Is there anyone in mind?
Vladimir Putin: I’ve been thinking about it since the year 2000. But, there’s no harm in thinking. At the end of the day, the choice will still belong to the Russian people. Regardless of whether I like somebody or whether I dislike them, the people go, candidates will run and at the end of the day the final decision will be made by citizens of the Russian Federation.
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. Whether I like or hate someone, other candidates will run for president and eventually the citizens of the Russian Federation will make the final decision.
Megyn Kelly: Let me ask you a little bit about Syria. Do you believe the chemical weapons attacks in Syria are fake news?
NOTE: Oh brother. Russia has not been in Syria militarily for years now. FAKE NEWS. In fact, Vladimir has been playing golf in Syria. There’s no war there.
Vladimir Putin: Of course. First of all, the Syrian government long ago destroyed their chemical weapons. Secondly, we are aware of the plans of the insurgents to make things look like the Syrian army is using chemical weapons. Thirdly, all of these are attempts that have repeatedly taken place in the not so distant past. These accusations that were used as a justification to consolidate efforts in fighting Assad. We’re all well aware of it. We understand it. We’re not even interested in it. I just feel like saying, simply boring.
Firstly, the Syrian Government destroyed its chemical weapons long ago.
Secondly, we know about the militants’ plans to simulate chemical attacks by the Syrian army.
And thirdly, all the attempts that have been made repeatedly in the recent past, and all the accusations were used to consolidate the efforts against Assad. We are aware of these goings-on, and they are not interesting. One wants to say, “Boring.”
Megyn Kelly: The bodies of dead children, thanks to sarin gas attacks.
The bodies of dead children thanks to sarin gas attacks? That is boring?
Vladimir Putin: Are you positive that these bodies are the result of what the government forces did? I believe the opposite. It’s the result of the actions of criminals. Of criminal elements and radical elements.
Are you sure that these deaths are the result of chemical attacks by the Syrian Government? I, on the contrary, blame this on the criminals and radicals, on the terrorists who are staging these crimes in order to lay the blame on President Assad.
Megyn Kelly: (interferes) Are you positive that they’re not?
Vladimir Putin: (continues) Terrorists who commit these crimes in order to accuse President Assad of doing that.
Megyn Kelly: That’s not what the United Nations has concluded. They autopsied the bodies of the dead children. Your foreign minister suggested it was all made up. Do you believe that?
That is not what the United Nations has concluded. They autopsied the bodies of the dead children. Your Foreign Minister suggested it was all made up. Do you believe that?
Vladimir Putin: Of course, I am absolutely convinced, as a matter of fact. After all –
Of course. I am absolutely sure that it was. Because there was no serious investigation.
Megyn Kelly: (in disbelief, more like a statement than a question) There were no dead bodies.
There were no dead bodies?
Vladimir Putin: There was no serious investigation. There may have been dead bodies, which does happen at war. Take a look at how Mosul was taken. Everything was razed to the ground. Or look at how Raqqa was taken. To this day, there are dead bodies under the ruins. And they haven’t been buried. Don’t you want to remember that?
Maybe there were dead bodies, which is to be expected in a war. Look how they liberated Mosul: it was razed to the ground. Look how they liberated Raqqa: the dead have not yet been removed from the ruins or buried. Do you want to talk about this?
Megyn Kelly: That’s what we call what aboutism. That’s you pointing to somebody else’s bad behavior, to justify your own or that of your ally.
NOTE: Big question. How did Megyn Kelly even manage to get a law degree?
Megyn Kelly: We’re talking about Assad and dead children. Thanks to sarin gas. Sarin gas. And you’re telling an international audience it never happened.
That is what we call whataboutism. That is you pointing to somebody else’s bad behaviour to justify your wrong or that of your ally. We are talking about Assad and dead children thanks to sarin gas. Sarin gas. And you are telling an international audience it never happened?
Vladimir Putin: Listen. In order to be sure of this, a thorough investigation on location with evidence gathering needs to be done. None of this was done. Let’s do it.
Look here, to be sure that this was indeed how it happened, a thorough investigation must be conducted and evidence must be gathered at the site. Nothing of this has been done. Let us do this.
Megyn Kelly: Let’s do it (laughs). They wanted to investigate the helicopters and the U.N. wanted to go and check out the helicopters that were on site and Russia said “no”. Russia said “no”. Why?
Let us do it. They wanted to investigate the helicopters and the UN wanted to go and check the helicopters that were on site. And Russia said no. Russia said no. Why?
Vladimir Putin: Nothing of the kind happened. Russia did not say “no”. Russia stands for a fully fledged investigation. And if you don’t know that, please hear it from me. This is not true. We were never against an objective investigation. This is a lie. This is a deception. The same kind of deception as when somebody shakes a vial with a WMD allegedly in Iraq that the C.I.A. gave to the wrong Secretary of State and who later apologized for that. But the country had been destroyed by then. And this is the same kind of fake. This is the same kind of bogus story that does not have any serious basis. For there to be serious grounds, there needs to be an investigation. And we stand for such an investigation.
There was nothing of the kind. Russia did not say “No.” Russia is for a full-scale investigation. If you do not know this, I am telling you this now. It is not true that we are against an objective investigation. That is a lie. It is a lie just as the vial with the white substance that allegedly proved that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which the CIA gave to the US Secretary of State. He later apologised, but the damage had been done, the country had been ruined. This is yet another piece of fake news, which has no substance behind it. An investigation should be conducted to gather the substance. We are in favour of such an investigation.
Megyn Kelly: Since the beginning of the year there have been at least four. These four chlorine based chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Our Secretary of State Tillerson just said that Russia bears the responsibility for this given your promises to reign in chemical attacks in Syria. Your response?
Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least four chlorine-based chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Our Secretary of State Tillerson just said that Russia bears the responsibility for this given your earlier promises to reign in chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Your response?
Vladimir Putin: My response is that A) we have nothing to do with it and we demand a full fledged investigation. And as far as criminal acts are concerned, please go back to Raqqa and at least bury the bodies that are still under the ruins and debris as the result of indiscriminate shelling of the residential neighborhoods and investigate that. Then, you’ll have something to keep you busy.
I will tell you that a) we have nothing to do with this, and that we demand a full-scale investigation.
As for crimes, go back to Raqqa and at least bury the dead bodies, which are still lying amid the ruins after the air strikes at residential neighbourhoods there. And investigate these attacks. This will give you something to do.
Megyn Kelly: The – One of the questions our audience is going to have is how do we walk this back? How do we get to the place where these two great nations are less adversaries.
MY ANSWER: Get rid of the DEEP STATE (Loree McBride Jesuits).
Megyn Kelly: Something closer to allies, which we clearly are not right now. Do you agree we are not?
One of the questions that our audiences have is how do we walk this back? How do we get to the place where these two great nations are less adversaries and something closer to allies, which we clearly are not right now. Do you agree we are not?
Vladimir Putin: Unfortunately not. But we’re not the ones who labeled you our enemies. You made a decision at the level of Parliament, at the level of Congress, you put Russia on your list of enemies. Why did you do that? I wasn’t the one who imposed sanctions on the United States. The U.S. posed sanctions.
Unfortunately, we are not. But we were not the ones who made the US our adversary. It was the US, the US Congress, who called Russia its adversary. Why did you do that? Did Russia impose sanctions on the United States? No, it was the US that imposed sanctions on us.
Megyn Kelly: You know why.
Vladimir Putin: Was it us that? No, no, I don’t know why. But I can then ask you another question. Why did you facilitate a coup d’etat in Ukraine? Why did you do it? And you publicly admitted you had spent billions of dollars on it. Your government officials said so publicly. Why support arms struggles and coup d’etat in other countries? Why did you deploy missile systems along our borders? Listen. Let’s sit down calmly. Talk and figure things out. I believe that the current President wants to do that. But there are forces that won’t let him do it. We are prepared to do so on any subject, including missile issues, including cyber space, including counter terrorism. Any time. But the American side has to be willing. But someday maybe the public opinion in the U.S. will probably prompt the political elite to get that process going as soon as our partners are ready. By all means, at a moment’s notice.
No, I do not. Can I ask you a different question? Why did you encourage the government coup in Ukraine? Why did you do that? The US directly acknowledged spending billions of dollars to this end. This was openly acknowledged by US officials. Why do they support government coups and armed fighting in other countries? Why has the US deployed missile systems along our borders?
Listen, Russia and the US should sit down and talk it over in order to get things straight. I have the impression that this is what the current President wants, but he is prevented from doing it by some forces. But we are ready to discuss any matter, be it missile-related issues, cyberspace or counterterrorism efforts. We are ready to do it any moment. But the US should also be ready. The time will come when the political elite in the US will be pushed by public opinion to move in this direction. We will be ready the instant our partners are ready.
Megyn Kelly: Before I leave you. What do you hope your legacy will be?
Vladimir Putin: I am absolutely convinced that Russia will have acquired an additional powerful boost of development and will be a stable, properly balanced Democracy with good prospects for using state of the art achievements of the technological advancements. We’ll continue working on improving our political and legal systems and, all of this together, I’m sure will enhance the unity of the Russian Federation, the unity of our people, and we’ll create progress forward over the long, historical term.
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. And I am certain that all this, taken together, would strengthen the unity of the Russian Federation and the unity of our people, and enable us to move forward with confidence for years to come.
Megyn Kelly: Mr. President, thank you, for having us here.
Mr President, thank you very much for having us here.
Vladimir Putin: (in English) Thank you.(removes his translator ear piece)
Poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in England (document obtained from Wikileaks)
Statement by Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW, Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, at the 87th session of the OPCW Executive Council on the chemical incident in Salisbury, The Hague, March 13, 2018
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