In Vladimir Putin’s Russian government, accountability falls a long way short of the United States. While President Trump answers media questions on almost a daily basis, in Russia, Vladimir Putin only has to do so once a year.
Earlier today, his annual press conference took place took place in Moscow and local reporters took the chance to question him on a whole host of issues, both personal and political, the Daily Mail reported. One of the biggest topics of interest was the state of Russian relations with the United States in the wake of the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
One of the first questions put to him was whether he hoped to meet face-to-face with President Donald Trump anytime soon.
“I don’t know if such a meeting will happen or not,” he responded.
“Will he be able to enter direct dialogue with Russia? I don’t know, you need to ask them. We must normalize our bilateral relations, we are ready for this, as soon as the other side is ready too.”
Putin also had some worrying things to say about the suggestion that the U.S. might quit the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the international arms control order and (the start of) an arms race,” he said, before promising to retaliate if the U.S. increased the number of missiles targeted at Russia.
“If these missiles appear in Europe what should we do? Of course, we’ll have to ensure our own security.”
Putin did praise Trump for his recent announcement on the withdrawal of troops from Syria, stating that he agreed with the president’s assessment that ISIS had now been defeated. However, he was more bombastic and nationalistic in his answer to questions about the ongoing western economic sanctions against Russia.
“Russia throughout almost all of its history has been under some sort of sanctions… This is to do with the growth of Russia’s power and its ability to compete,” he said, in an answer clearly aimed at his own citizens.
“Our economy has [always] adapted to these external constraints.”
An interesting part of this showpiece annual press conference is those Russian journalists who are brave enough to ask questions about Putin’s private life. This year, one bold reporter asked if Putin had any plans to remarry. Putin divorced his wife, Ludmila Putina, in 2013 and has since been romantically linked to a Russian ballet dancer.
“As a decent person, I will have to do that sometime,” Putin said wryly before quickly turning the tables on the report by asking if he was married.
If Putin’s words can be taken at face value, maybe Russia can look forward to the closest thing to a royal wedding the country will have seen for more than a hundred years.