Vladimir Putin praises Trump quite often, whether you like it or not. Just days after returning from Syria where he declared “victory” for Russian forces in aid of Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a four-hour-long annual press conference on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, Putin had a lot of good things to say about the US President Donald Trump. The two call each other by their first names, according to Putin. The Russian President also dismissed the allegations of links between the Kremlin and Donald Trump.
Vladimir Putin praises Trump: ‘Look at the US stock market’
Putin told media that the allegations of collusion between the Kremlin and Trump’s election campaign were “invented” by the US President’s opponents. Talking about Trump’s presidency, Putin said he was “not the one to evaluate” the US President’s work. That’s up to the American people. But Trump has “some quite serious achievements, even in the short period of time he’s been working,” added Putin.
The US stocks have soared under Trump’s presidency. “That shows investors’ confidence in the American economy, it shows they believe in what President Trump is doing,” said the Russian President. Trump has also pointed to the rising US stocks as proof that his agenda was working. Putin added that there are a few things such as reforming the US healthcare system that Trump had been unable to achieve because of domestic opposition.
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Putin said Thursday that the US was gripped by a fabricated “spy-mania” created by Trump’s opponents. Accusations of links between members of President Trump’s administration and Russia were “all invented by people who are in opposition to Trump in order to make his work look illegitimate,” said Vladimir Putin. He called these accusations “very bizarre.”
Those behind such allegations were trying to “impede” Trump’s agenda. In fact, they were damaging the American political system by not respecting voters who chose the president. A number of contacts between Russia and Donald Trump’s election campaign surfaced during Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian meddling in the last year’s US Presidential election.
It’s not that only Vladimir Putin praises Trump all the time. The US President has also praised his Russian counterpart on many occasions. We wouldn’t be surprised if Putin praises Trump again publicly sometime soon.
It’s pretty common for governments to meet foreign candidates
Putin said it was a “common” practice for governments to meet the overseas representatives and candidates. The US Congress is investigating the ties between Moscow and Trump’s election campaign to see if Russia indeed influenced the US Presidential election. Relations between the US and Russia were expected to improve after Trump’s election, but the ties have hit bottom amid investigations. President Trump has denied the allegations on many occasions.
Vladimir Putin hopes the US-Russia ties would improve in the future. He said the two countries should “go forward without trying to be at one another’s throats.” He also took potshots at the US lawmakers for their handling of international relations. The Americans put Russia in the “same category alongside Iran and North Korea.” And now they want to persuade Putin to help resolve the issues with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear program.
Vladimir Putin seeks re-election as an independent
65-year-old Putin has also declared that he would run for re-election in March 2018. If he gets re-elected, which he will because there is no strong opponent, he will become the longest-serving Russian leader since the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Putin has been in power for 18 years. The re-election would extend it by another six years.
Surprisingly, he announced that he would run as an independent candidate rather than as a candidate of the ruling United Russia Party. The move makes sense considering Putin himself has a much higher support rating than the United Russia Party. According to Levada, the Russian President has an approval rating of above 80%. Putin is hoping that “some popular groups, movements, parties” would support him.
He began Thursday’s conference by pledging to improve the incomes of the Russian people. He assured his countrymen that the Russian economy had recovered from the worst recession in years caused by Western sanctions and falling oil prices. Putin said domestic issues such as infrastructure, health, and education would be his biggest electoral priorities.
Not my duty to create opponents
Putin has no strong opponents to make the 2018 election interesting. When reporters asked him whether it was “boring” not to have any real opponent in the upcoming elections, Putin said it was not his responsibility to create an opposition. However, he believes that the country’s electoral system “should be competitive.” Putin said the lack of opponents was due to the economic improvements under his tenure.
Noted anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny has announced that he would run for the presidency. Navalny has been jailed many times in the last few years for organizing protest rallies. Without directly mentioning Alexei Navalny, Putin said the Kremlin would not allow opponents to create instability.