AMSTERDAM, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday praised the late former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a “colorful” politician.
Thatcher died on Monday at the age of 87 following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell announced.
“Thatcher was certainly one of the most colorful political figures of the modern world,” Putin told reporters after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
“I personally knew her, she always made a very strong impression,” he said.
Putin said the world has lost a major political figure and expressed condolences to Thatcher’s relatives and UK nationals.
The Russian president also called Thatcher a pragmatic and consistent person, saying that her hardline approach had helped Britain out of an economic crisis.
Rutte also praised Thatcher, calling her an outstanding person.
Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister, a post she held from 1979 until 1990, when she was forced out by a Conservative Party coup following rioting in Trafalgar Square over her unpopular poll tax.
Perhaps the most controversial figure in modern British politics, a grocer’s daughter, Thatcher was a committed believer in the free market and an opponent of the culture of a welfare state – or the “nanny state,” as she called it.
Thatcher was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” in Russia for her perceived toughness, a moniker that was then picked up by her supporters and critics at home.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thatcher’s character and will deserved respect.
“Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding politician who did a lot for her country,” Medvedev wrote on Facebook. “You can have different attitudes toward her political views, but you cannot but respect her for her character and political will.”
Pavel Palazhchenko, who worked as an interpreter for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, said Thatcher had been tough and persistent but always felt when it was necessary to reach an agreement. He said Thatcher had done much to end the cold war.