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Putin got almost to a duel

Путин попал почти на дуэль

Ahead of his visit to Austria Russian President landed unexpectedly under hard pressure during the conversation with the correspondent of the TV channel ORF.

Vladimir Putin before the visit to Austria by tradition, gave an interview to the local media — TV channel ORF. However, such a dramatic conversation, judging from how he responded to initially, the Russian leader did not expect.
Show completely… he May have been misled by advisers who considered that the position of the Austrian government, loyal to Moscow, is sure to be a benchmark for journalists of the public television of the country.

If the guess is correct, then the Russian experts obviously came from domestic realities. They forgot that for the first time in a long time, the government is center-right coalition, which the opposition even the current President of Austria. What can we say on public television, adhere to in its work the classical standards of liberal journalism. In fact, Vladimir Putin was a victim as a lack of professionalism of his assistants, and of the political struggle in Austria.

From the second question of the interview it becomes clear that interviewer Armin wolf, is configured rigidly and intends to achieve answers to the questions that he had prepared or at any cost to demonstrate that the Russian leader does not want them to answer directly. As noted immediately after the interview to Russian commentators, the result of this perseverance was that the journalist repeatedly interrupted the Russian President, trying to achieve a simple and undiplomatic answer that he received to the question on the status of Crimea.

The first question the interviewer brought to the fact whether the Russian leader’s visit to Austria “the reward for a benevolent policy towards Russia on the part of the Austrian government, which opposes new sanctions of the EU and not expelled Russian diplomats for “business Skripal”? (hereafter citations in the text of the interview published on the presidential website Kremlin.ru). Vladimir Putin said that, in his opinion, Austria did not need anyone’s encouragement and moved on to traditional in such cases, the story of bilateral cooperation. But the Austrian-Russian relationship seems to be very little of interest to the journalist. Rather, he persistently put them in an international context.

From “the works Skripal” wolf turned to cooperation of Russia with the Austrian and the wider European “nationalist parties”, suggesting that this could be done because they “want to divide the European Union”. Easily leaping through the economically rational response of Vladimir Putin reported that the Russian government may not be interested in weakening its biggest trade partner, the interviewer moved on to the so-called “factory of the trolls” and its eventual owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, “who is called chef Putin”, as well as their role in Russian foreign policy and even the American elections.

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The attempt of Vladimir Putin to expand the topic to the discussion “Russian hackers” wolf responded briefly: “I meant Mr. Prigogine”. In the end, the activities of this “gentleman”, Austrian journalist has devoted nearly a quarter of interviews and at least four questions.

“Mr. Prigozhin is not just restaurants, it has many companies that signed agreements with the Ministry of defence and get a lot of orders, millions of dollars he spends on a trolley factory to produce these posts. Why is it necessary restaurateur?“ — attacked the wolf. “Let’s ask him. The Russian government has nothing to do with it“ — went in to protect Vladimir Putin. But the journalist did not stop: “But You yourself well know.” What the Russian President actually had to answer: “so what? I know a lot of people in St. Petersburg and Moscow. You ask them“.

Ask there was nobody, in the frame of the journalist and the President were together. So the main question wolf (“Really good that anyone who supports such a close relationship with the Russian leadership, is engaged in the factories trolls”?) and remained without the answer.

Although the Austrian journalist himself actually suggested the option that would happily accept the West. To protect the reputation of the country and the President just enough to distance themselves from the fact that in Europe and the United States considers criminal activity of individuals. This is probably the best protection against such attacks.

This same technique, by the way, the wolf used when he switched to the topic of Ukraine, Crimea and shot down in 2014 the Malaysian “Boeing”. “Maybe after many years to really recognize that the rebels in Eastern Ukraine used Russian weapons in order to commit this terrible crime?” offers the journalist the President, at the same time arguing that any other answer is no one will believe, because “You have a year say that this is not the truth, but almost no one believes these words”.

This question is becoming almost a squabble. “If You have patience and listen to me, You know my point of view on this issue, okay?” — sharply reacts to Vladimir Putin to clarify wolf, who said that “it was a brigade of the Russian army in the Kursk”. “Now, wait a second, take your time. Let me say this, otherwise we won’t be an interview, a monologue with only one hand — Your“, — he tries to continue his explanation, which cleverly substitute the theme of the issue, highlighting the progress and details of the investigation of this crime.

But wolf doesn’t stop: “let me however, briefly say: Yes, we already know where this rocket…” At this moment creates a feeling that the Austrian journalist said on behalf of a collective community, like accusing Vladimir Putin and Russia, and the President unwittingly reinforces this sensation, starting your answer with, “No, we don’t think so, we have a different point of view.”

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However, Russian media traditionally the main subject in the interviews were not the toughest questions of the interviewer, and the answer of Vladimir Putin on the most expected question. “What should happen to Russia had returned Crimea to the Ukraine?” — asks the wolf. “There are no such conditions and can not be”, — sharply reacts on the Russian President.

Then the conversation continues in the same hard style, with additional questions and sometimes unambiguous statements on the part of the reporter ORF and irritated by the requests of Vladimir Putin not to interrupt. Crimea, Ukraine, anti-constitutional coup or revolution, the possible entry of Ukraine into NATO, Syria and use of chemical weapons there, and finally, Russian politics and Economics, including past and upcoming 2024 presidential elections.

Wolf tries in vain to catch the Russian leader at the word, trying to finally publicly spoke the name of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. However, he managed to obtain probably the main answer of the President. “… You’re right, really, I have engaged in administrative, state job long enough, I myself will have to decide what I will do after I run out of my current presidential term,” the way Putin responds to the question of whether there will be again as 2008, the Prime Minister, the end of his presidential powers.

Wolf you can blame for the harshness and incorrectness, but I have to say that the polite journalists are rarely good interviewers. Few people, even in Russia and in Austria, only interested in the bilateral relations of these countries. So the attempt to disclose in an interview the broader context makes sense.

Yes, the tone is debatable. But wolf set almost all the issues that divide Russia and the West. If not for the difference in the conditional “weight classes, this interview could be called a duel. Including, by the way, and due to the manner of conducting the conversation, because otherwise Vladimir Putin as a professional politician would have remained all the time in a ‘comfort zone’, to discuss topics that interest him, not the viewers and readers.

The journalist apparently had their own point of view, which is persistently pursued in his questions, then the Russian commentators are right. But how would we know otherwise if Vladimir Putin is your opinion on all these topics, and most importantly — what is it? And how else would the Western community could make it clear to the Russian authorities that the continuation of the dialogue largely depends on how the Russian government, for example, refers to different mentioned in the talk of the ‘masters’?

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