Putin asked what advice or warning he would give his younger self

In the final question of a marathon phone-in and press conference, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was asked by a Kommersant journalist what advice or warning he would give to himself in the year 2000, just after he came to power.

In terms of advice, Putin said he would tell his younger self “you’re going on the right path, comrades.”

“You need to believe in the great people of Russia and this faith is key to rebirth and the strengthening of Russia,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds his year-end press conference at Gostiny Dvor exhibition hall in central Moscow on December 14, 2023.

Putin said he would warn his younger self against being naïve and “overly trusting towards so-called partners.” It’s uncertain who Putin was referring to but Russia has repeatedly complained about NATO’s expansion in recent decades, saying it had been assured that the military alliance would not expand eastward. Western officials have said no such assurances were ever given to Moscow.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, NATO’s border with Russia has got even bigger as Finland joined the alliance earlier this year.

Wrapping up the more than four-hour phone-in and presser, Putin told the audience: “Please don’t be cross with me if I didn’t answer all of your questions, but it’s high time to wrap it up.”

— Holly Ellyatt

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