Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has pledged to continue liberal reforms in the country if elected president on Sunday.
The statement came during Putin’s interview with editors-in-chief of several leading foreign newspapers in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence near Moscow.
When asked whether he was going to “tighten the screws” on Russia’s opposition if he returned to the Kremlin, Putin said: “Why should we do this? Just opposite, President [Dmitry] Medvedev has just introduced an entire package of laws to parliament which would liberalize our political system.”
“Where do these fears come from? We are not planning anything like this,” he went on. “We are doing just the opposite. Our proposals are aimed at launching dialogue with everybody, both with our supporters and critics.”
The editors-in-chief of France’s Le Monde, Britain’s The Times, Italy’s La Repubblica, Germany’s Handelsblatt, Canada’s The Globe and Mail and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper participated in the interview.