Putin on Wikileaks: US is Arrogant, Rude, Unethical

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Source: Pctvl.lvRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is calling on the United States not to interfere with “the sovereign choice of the Russian people,” responding to comments published on Wikileaks by United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that democracy in Russia has “disappeared.”

Speaking in an interview with CNN host Larry King, the prime minister effectively accused the United States of applying a double-standard to criticism of democracy. “When we talk with our American friends and tell them there are systemic problems in this regard, we hear from them: ‘Don’t interfere in our affairs. These are our traditions, and we don’t plan on changing them.’ And we don’t interfere,” Putin said. “But to our colleagues, I would also like to advise you: don’t interfere, either, [with] the sovereign choice of the Russian people.”

In response to a Wikileaks document where the United States compares Putin and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to Batman and Robin, Putin responded that such remarks “are made in order to compromise one of us.”

“The truth is that this was said regarding our [Putin and Medvedev’s – ed.] cooperation. And this is an important thing for the domestic politics of our country,” the prime minister said. “To be honest, we didn’t suspect that it was going to be done with such arrogance, with such rudeness, and so unethically.”

Overall, however, Putin said he did not think the Wikileaks scandal was a catastrophe. “Some experts believe that somebody is using Wikileaks for their own political goals,” he said in the interview. “That’s one of the versions. That’s the opinion of experts. If that’s not the case, then the diplomatic services need to be more attentive in providing confidentiality for their correspondence. Leaks like this, by the way, have happened before, so it’s not a catastrophe.”

The interview will be aired on CNN tonight at 9 pm EST. It comes ten years after Putin’s last interview with Larry King, memorable for the then-president’s response to King’s question about the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster. When asked “what happened with the submarine,” Putin paused and simply responded: “it sunk.”