President Vladimir Putin seemed to be channeling the stereotype of Russia’s uneducated working classes this week, mocking and patronizing an experienced American business journalist. Unleashes his inner self gopnik during an interview on stage, he argued that she must be too “beautiful” to understand his complex argument.
The exchange took place on Wednesday on a Russian Energy Week panel in Moscow, moderated by CNBC journalist Hadley Gamble. The reporter had pressured Putin on reports that Russia was withholding gas supplies to Europe to increase prices, and after the Russian leader rejected the demand, she asked how Moscow could convince its European partners that it is a reliable gas supplier in light of such reports.
“A beautiful woman, beautiful. I tell her one thing and she says something completely different. As if she did not hear what I was saying, “Putin said, turning to the male audience.
His chauvinistic joke came as Kremlin-owned media covering Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s visit to Russia went into a crosswalk mock her as just a symbolic woman in government, deplores the “progress of femininity” in the West.
Clearly, these outdated sentiments are not so foreign to Putin himself.
“I will repeat it to you again,” Putin said, insisting that Moscow had in fact increased its gas supplies to Europe and that “there is nothing to support. [the idea] that we use energy as a kind of weapon. ”
“Did I really say something so difficult to understand?” he asked.
He went on to strike out at European leaders for suggesting that Moscow could use energy as a weapon, calling them “out of their minds” to express such “complete nonsense.”
And although he called the “politically motivated fan” to suggest that the Kremlin could take advantage of rising gas prices to get German regulators to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, he said such approval “would significantly ease energy market tensions . “
He later remarked that it was “quite possible“Gas prices could soon reach $ 100 per barrel. Barrel.
In a separate interview with Gamble on the sidelines of the event, Putin seemed to respond defensively to a question about whether he has considered potential successors.
“I prefer not to answer such questions, this is my traditional answer,” Putin said, 69. He went on to note that “the situation allows me to run for another 6 years, but I have not made a decision in this regard. ”
According to one Kremlin Depreciation, the interview ended with him taking a jab at the “citizen”, who many saw as his only biggest political rival, until he was thrown behind bars in a politically motivated case.
“What about Mr. [Alexei] Navalny? Gamble asked the Russian president. “Are you interested in improving his quality of life?”
“The citizen you mentioned is now in jail,” he said.
Recognizing that conditions in Russian prisons are “not the best,” Putin said “he is not alone.”
“There are other people who also violated Russian laws, and we do not intend to put them in any exclusive circumstances, including those who use political activity as a cover.”