Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a meeting with editors-in-chief of leading Western newspapers in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow© RIA Novosti. Alexei Druzhinin
NOVO-OGARYOVO, (Moscow Region), March 2 (RIA Novosti)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has pledged to continue liberal reforms in the country if elected president on Sunday.
The statement came during Putin’s interview with editors-in-chief of several leading foreign newspapers in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow.
When asked whether he was going to “tighten the screws” on Russia’s opposition if he returned to the Kremlin, Putin said: “Why should we do this? Just opposite, President [Dmitry] Medvedev has just introduced an entire package of laws to parliament which would liberalize our political system.”
“Where do these fears come from? We are not planning anything like this,” he went on. “We are doing just the opposite. Our proposals are aimed at launching dialogue with everybody, both with our supporters and critics.”
The editors-in-chief of France’s Le Monde, Britain’s The Times, Italy’s La Repubblica, Germany’s Handelsblatt, Canada’s The Globe and Mail and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper participated in the interview.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.