Answering the students' questions in Krasnoyarsk, the president of Russia said, "as for the work as president, I never thought of this. Boris Nikolayevich (Yeltsin) made an offer to me unexpectedly enough. And I refused during the first talk: it is a difficult fate, I do not think that I am ready for it. But then I got used to it."
Putin noted that he does not deem himself to be entitled to assess the country's previous leaders in certain terms. He said, however, "I would have done some things in a different way." But maybe they, too, could have acted in a different way if they had known the developments that would follow, the president added. "It is unknown how I would have acted in these conditions and, therefore, I consider excessive criticism to be a mistake."
He concluded that "it is necessary to analyze the past, to draw conclusions, and to try hard to avoid mistakes."