He is not enhancing Russia’s global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.
President Putin doesn’t believe in these values because he doesn’t believe in you. He doesn’t believe that human nature at liberty can rise above its weaknesses and build just, peaceful, prosperous societies. Or at least, he doesn’t believe Russians can. So he rules by using those weaknesses, by corruption, repression and violence. He rules for himself, not you.
I do believe in you. I believe in your capacity for self-government and your desire for justice and opportunity. I believe in the greatness of the Russian people, who suffered enormously and fought bravely against terrible adversity to save your nation. I believe in your right to make a civilization worthy of your dreams and sacrifices. When I criticize your government, it is not because I am anti-Russian. It is because I believe you deserve a government that believes in you and answers to you. And I long for the day when you have it.
“It is perfectly right that Russia deserves better quality leadership in general. However, it is a big and bold question if such leadership exists in other countries, including the one represented by Mr McCain.” Putin explained that the US presidents had been twice elected in a vote where a larger number of electors represented a minority of voters and called such a situation “an absolutely evident flaw in the election process.”
The president again emphasized that the Russian political system must be chosen by Russian citizens and not by “respected colleagues from abroad”. Putin also said that in the recent presidential poll the absolute majority of Russians voted for him and this should be a starting point in any discussion. However, he also agreed that both he and the Russian state institution needed perfecting further and pledged to continue working on this.