Key quotes from Putin's 2018 marathon presser | 2018-12-20 |

Key quotes from Putin's 2018 marathon presser


20th December, 2018 10:01:28 printer

Key quotes from Putin's 2018 marathon presser

Vladimir Putin took over 60 questions from a hall of journalists Thursday, speaking on everything from rap to pensions to the prospect of taking over the world.


Here are the top quotes from the Russian president's end-of-year press conference, which lasted three hours and 43 minutes.


International tensions

On Moscow's ties with the West, Putin had this to say:


"Practically throughout its entire history, Russia has lived with some constraints and sanctions... this is connected with the growth of Russia's power, increase of competitiveness... A powerful player appears which needs to be reckoned with..."


"If there hadn't been the Skripals, they (the West) would have thought up something else. There is only one aim: to hold back Russia's development as a possible competitor."


"(In the West), they don't want to recognise (Trump's) victory. That's disrespect of voters." ... "It's the same in Britain: Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it. They don't recognise vote results, democratic procedures are diminished."


"Do we need American troops (in Syria)? I think we don't... If the US has decided to withdraw its troops (from Syria), that is right."


"I hope that something will improve (in US-Russian relations), sooner or later we will reach rock bottom in our relations and understand that we must ... rise up, breathe in the fresh air and think with a clear head about how to live."


"It's a collapse. We are currently looking at a collapse of the international system of arms control."


National concerns

On Russia's economic goals:


"The main thing is that we need to get into a new league economically... we could very well take the fifth place in terms of size of economy. And I think we'll do that."


On reports of torture in Russia's penal colonies:


"Any breaches of the law, especially torture - that's a crime. These breaches, these crimes, must be punished... To say that (the penal system) must be broken into pieces is wrong. It has to be improved."


On the difficulty of recycling in Russia:


"For decades in the Soviet Union we threw trash into pits, figuratively speaking. Nobody ever did any recycling... we produce 70 million tonnes of trash every year and don't know where to put it."


On Russia's crackdown on hip-hop concerts:


"About the detention of these rappers, I agree with you. That's just pointless... there is nothing good in that."


Personal matters

On the prospect of remarrying after announcing his divorce:


"As an honourable man I will have to (marry) at some point, I guess."


On his health:


"My health is the same as anyone else's. Thank God, I do sports, and everything is normal... as anyone else, there can be some sort of flu when the seasons change, but right now, everything is all right."


"I am rarely on the internet and watch little television, I simply don't have the time."