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    Russian society and foreign policy, relations with neighbors and comments on several world leaders, private life and relations with his ex-wife – these are just a few questions Russians wanted to ask their President during his Direct Line on Thursday; Sputnik has chosen for you some of Vladimir Putin’s best answers.

    On Thursday, President Putin answered a wide range of questions from his countrymen: from “whom would he save from drowning – Poroshenko or Erdogan,” to “what will be the next target of Russia’s Airspace Forces”.

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    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    Sputnik has chosen some of the President’s most interesting and telling answers.

    “The current Turkish authorities are not so much fighting radicals as they are cooperating with them”

    In response to the question on when Russians can resume their vacationing in Turkey, once a popular destination, the President said that “vacationing in Turkey is now dangerous” due to a number of reasons.

    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin
    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    “We believe that the current Turkish authorities are not so much fighting radicals as they are cooperating with them,” the Russian leader said.
    However, he added, “the country’s domestic issues also make us consider security.”

    “A de facto civil war is underway in the south of the country.”

    “We are trying not to notice it, and the international community pretends that it is not taking place. But this is a fact. Heavy weapons, tanks, artillery and so forth are being used. In addition, Turkey suffers from terrorist attacks almost every week.”

    “Obama showed decency by admitting his Libya mistake, but the mistakes continue”

    During his Direct Line Vladimir Putin also commented on Barack Obama’s recent confession in the interview with Fox News that one of the major mistakes he made during his presidency was the Libya intervention.

    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin
    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    "This is more proof that the President is a decent guy. It takes heart to admit something like that," the President said.

    "This is a good thing. The bad thing is that the line of mistakes continues. The US wanted to follow the same course in Syria. But we managed to work this out with the US to avoid this through working hand in hand to foster a solution."

    “You cannot save someone who has decided to drown”

    Twelve-year-old Varya reminded the President that last year he said he “would come to the rescue of a drowning Obama”.

    “If you found Poroshenko and Erdogan drowning now, whom would you save first?” Varya wants to know this year.

    ​“Varya, you have put me on the spot. I do not know what to say,” the President responded.

    “I would say, you cannot save someone who has decided to drown. But of course we are ready to lend a helping hand and friendship to any of our partners, if they want to take it.”

    "Woman May Be Better President of Russia"

    A first-grader asked Vladimir Putin whether a woman could be a president of Russia, "because my dad says that only Putin can handle this America."

    Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Alexander Kryazhev
    Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    "We have to think not about how to handle America, we have to think about how to deal with internal questions and issues… As far as whether a woman can be the head of state, then maybe a woman would be the best person to deal with these questions," the Russian leader responded. answered.

    “We are not surrounded by enemies and we will not end up in that position”

    Andrei Bystritsky, head of the Valdai Discussion Club suggested that Russia could soon “find itself surrounded by enemies,” judging by deteriorating relations with Turkey. He also brought as an example the relationship with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia.

    Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Vitali Ankov
    Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    “We are not surrounded by enemies and we will not end up in that position. This is absolutely out of the question,” the President responded.

    “We have good, friendly relations with most countries. I am not even talking about effective organizations such as the SCO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is expanding by adding great powers, and our integration associations, the Eurasian Economic Union, BRICS and so on.”

    “We have problems with certain political leaders whose behavior is less than adequate as far as Russia is concerned, and we react appropriately.”

    "When will you present to us new first lady?"

    When asked a question about his personal life, Vladimir Putin jokingly replied that "perhaps the moment will come when I will be able to satisfy your curiosity."

    ​As for now, he added,"I'm not sure if I should advertise my personal situation, it may change the currency or oil price!"

    “Mr. President, who is worse for Russia, Clinton or Trump?”

    Answering to this question, the President suggested looking “for those who are better,” not worse.

    “I can only repeat what I said at the end of my response to the previous question, namely, that we have had moments in the history of our bilateral ties when we interacted very closely and achieved very good results on the national and international level.

    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Michael Klimentyev
    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    Today there are also examples of such cooperation: relating to issues of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against terrorism, the resolution, say, of Iran’s nuclear problem, chemical weapons in Syria and the fight against terror in general.”

    ​“There are also other examples of positive interaction, but our partners, to reiterate, if they act on the assumption… You see, it is not even a matter of concrete people there. However, if they act on the false premise of their own exceptionalism, this will mean that they will lay claim to a special status and special rights.”

    “As a matter of fact, the situation is exactly the same in countries that cast themselves as mature democracies”

    When asked about the upcoming parliamentary elections in Russia and its electoral system as a whole, with only a few parties allowed for the elections, the President brought as an example the systems in the US and some of the European countries.

    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Michael Klimentyev
    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    “Look, over centuries, there have been only two parties at the top in the United States: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. In Europe, say, in France, there are socialists and conservatives; in Germany, there are Christian Democrats, the Christian Democratic Union and the Social-Democratic Party, and they are all together; there are liberals, but they are, rather, on the sidelines.”

    “Husband and wife are a single devil”

    As for concrete individuals, the President suggested taking the United States as an example.

    “First Bush Sr. was in power there, later on Bush Jr. – all from the same family. Clinton was in power for two terms and now his wife is laying claim to this position, and the family may remain in office. What does this have to do with removability?”

    “As the saying goes, “Husband and wife are a single devil,” and they will be at the helm. I am not saying this is all bad. There are pros and cons to it.”

    “Mr President, do you swear when you are certain that you are not being recorded? If so, to whom is it directed?”

    "I do, sometimes, but only at myself," the President responded.

    ​"What about your subordinates?" specified one of the hosts.

    "This means I am displeased with myself. I am guilty, perhaps I should not have said this, but there is no use denying it. This sin does exist in Russia. We will atone for it," Vladimir Putin said.

    Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Ilya Pitalev
    Broadcast of Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    “In Syria, it is not a case of us simply getting up and leaving, abandoning everything”

    When asked to comment on a partial withdrawal from Syria, the President said that in Syria, “it is not a case of us simply getting up and leaving, abandoning everything.”

    “Let me note that we did indeed withdraw a substantial portion of our forces, but we made sure that after our withdrawal, the Syrian army would be in a fit state to carry out serious offensives itself, with our remaining forces’ support. And we see that after our withdrawal, the Syrian army took Palmyra and a number of other important strategic towns.”

    "The less teeth you have the more you like porridge"

    ​9-year-old Anastasia from St. Petersburg asked the President does he like porrige for breakfast and what did he do if he was forced to east it.

    Vladimir Putin responded that he "was never forced to do what I did not want to, that was my life."

    Speaking of porridge, he continued, "I eat it every day with pleasure", adding that his attitude towards it changed for the better with age, as "the less teeth you have the more you like porridge."

    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin
    © Sputnik/ Sergei Guneev
    Direct Line with Vladimir Putin

    “This is about a country that cannot be manipulated, cannot be forced to act and dance as somebody may want it to, to dance to somebody’s tune”

    Commenting on the recent offshore scandal dubbed “Panama Papers,” the President said that the whole issue “is not about concrete persons, individuals, whatever their position in Russia.”

    “This is about a country that cannot be manipulated, cannot be forced to act and dance as somebody may want it to, to dance to somebody’s tune.”

    “They will keep doing this anyway, and the nearer the elections, the more such stories will be planted.”

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    President Putin Holds Annual Q&A Session (24)
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