Russia will maintain a balanced foreign policy, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
Asked in an interview with three national TV channels what he thought about his “hawkish” image in the West, Putin said: “First of all, the hawk is a good bird.”
Responding to a follow-up question, “But surely you are not a dove,” Putin said he was against clichés.
“Now as before we will continue to pursue a balanced policy aimed at creating favorable conditions for the country’s development,” he said.
This means we want to have good-neighborly, friendly relations with our partners.”
Russia will continue to defend its national interests proactively, Putin said.
“But we have always done that in a civilized manner, and will continue doing so in the future,” he said.
Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have agreed to switch jobs. Medvedev proposed Putin for president at the ruling United Russia party convention in late September, saying he was ready to head the government in case of Putin’s victory.
Putin said if he was elected president, there would be “no abrupt changes” to what Medvedev had done.
“We will need to see how all of this works. But, to be honest, I can see nothing revolutionary here. After all, Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev] as president has acted in line with his own ideas of what is good and what is bad, as well as in accordance with the situation prevailing in the country,” he said.
“We see eye to eye on matters of strategy,” Putin said.
Asked why he had decided to run for president in 2012, Putin said he liked to see things through to their logical end.