Interview to German newspaper Bild. Part 1 – January 11, 2016
The interview was recorded on January 5, in Sochi.
Question: There is a theory saying that there are two Mr Putins: the first one was young pre-2007 Mr Putin who showed solidarity with the United States and who was friends with Mr Schroeder, and then, after 2007, another Mr Putin came. Back in 2000 you said, “We should have no confrontations in Europe, we should do everything to overcome them.” And now we have found ourselves in such confrontation.
May I ask you a straightforward question? When we are going to have the first Mr Putin back?
Vladimir Putin: I have never changed. First, I still feel young today. I was and I continue to be Mr Schroeder’s friend. Nothing has changed.
My attitude to such issues as the fight against terrorism has not changed either. It is true, on September 11 I was the first to call President Bush and express my solidarity. Indeed, we stood ready to do everything to combat terrorism together. Not so long ago, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, I called and then met the President of France.
If anyone had listened to Gerhard Schroeder, to Jacques Chirac, to me, perhaps there would have been none of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, as there would have been no upsurge of terrorism in Iraq, Libya, or other countries in the Middle East. […]
You asked me if I was a friend or not. The relations between states are a little different from those between individuals. I am no friend, bride or groom; I am the President of the Russian Federation. That is 146 million people! These people have their own interests, and I must protect those interests. We are ready to do this in a non-confrontational manner, to look for compromise but, of course, based on international law, which must be understood uniformly by all. […]