Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia’s stability remains fragile and suggested that a few wrong moves could return the country to the turmoil of the 1990s.
Putin, speaking in his first lengthy television interview since announcing he would seek a third presidential term, said his opponents’ were wrong when claiming Russia’s situation “could not get worse.”
“I would be careful saying that things cannot get worse,” Putin said. “It’s enough to take two or three wrong steps and everything that was before could overwhelm us so quickly that we would not even have time to look around.”
Putin admitted, however, that Russia had problems in the North Caucasus, saying the region is riddled with “with crime and terrorism.”
Putin also praised himself as Russia’s “most hardworking” leader since World War II, saying that Communist-era leaders were not physically able and did not have “the will” to run the country the way he managed to.
He said that his decision to run again for the presidency still leaves average Russians an opportunity to “make their choice” in the March 2012 presidential vote.
Current President Dmitry Medvedev has already said he was more interested in being prime minister, and is expected to lead the ruling United Russia party’s list of candidates in the December national elections.
Putin, whose planned Kremlin comeback is seen by analysts as possibly dealing a blow to the U.S.-Russian “reset” in ties, said he would pursue “good neighborly, friendly ties with all our partners.”
compiled from agency reports