Putin jokes about offering political asylum to Comey

Putin: US Sanctions Intend to Contain a Rising Russia

Putin: US Sanctions Intend to Contain a Rising Russia

Putin, in a combative mood, said many heads of state around the world had told him of similar USA meddling in their internal affairs. It's clearly a sign of an escalating domestic political struggle.

Putin did note that there were positives, though, the main one being that "we had to switch our brains on". He emphasized that electronics, aerospace industries and agriculture have all received a boost. In an interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone, which is being broadcast in episodes on the cable network Showtime, the Russian president appeared to offer a limited defense of the man that many USA officials have accused of treason. "But this is not any sort of underground, subversive activity", Putin said.

Responding to a question by a BBC reporter about whether he saw Navalny as a political competitor, President Putin said, "When I heard you were from the BBC, I didn't doubt for a moment you would ask precisely that question because it's in a certain sense propaganda of the people whom you support".

He acknowledged that the Russian economy hasn't yet shed its dependence on exports of raw materials, but noted that non-energy exports have been growing.

As in the past, Putin chided regional authorities for failing to care for people and ordered them to fix the flaws quickly.

In a cautious lifting of the veil on his closely-guarded personal life, he revealed to Russian media for the first time that he has grandchildren, while saying he wants to keep them out of the spotlight so they can grow up "normally". One has been reported to be in charge of a lucrative project to build a Silicon Valley-like community under the auspices of Moscow State University.

The point of the show wasn't to hide problems but to demonstrate that Putin was trying his best to get local officials to do their jobs. The Kremlin strongman said the U.S. is afraid of what he described as "serious competitor". He said he doesn't want to give details about his family for fear of hurting their privacy. Bear in mind that this issue is not only closely watched in the US but around the world and Moscow needs to be mindful of the court of public opinion not just in Washington but elsewhere, be it Beijing, New Delhi or Berlin.

He added the two countries also could cooperate on global poverty and preventing climate change.

He also criticized the US for its involvement in other countries.

He again poured scorn on claims Russian Federation had interfered in the USA elections, citing an absence of evidence.

President Trump dismissed Mr. Comey last month, citing his unhappiness with the FBI's continuing probe into charges of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russian agents and members of the Trump campaign.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared sarcastically fired Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey's act of leaking information to media to that of a human rights activist. Putin called the move "weird".

If Comey, who was sacked by Trump, continues to be persecuted, "we will be ready to provide him political asylum", Putin said on national television. "At any rate, if this entails some kind of prosecutions against him [Comey], we are ready to grant him asylum in Russian Federation".

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