• Vladimir Putin is likely on the verge of winning his fourth presidential term.
• As president of Russia, Putin has overseen the country’s slide back into authoritarianism, according to the Economist’s Democracy Index.
• Over the years, he’s made a number of ominous or enlightening statements that shed some light into his way of thinking about the world.
Vladimir Putin is once again on track to win the Russian presidential election.
The former KGB agent served as Russia’s prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2012. From 2000 to 2008 and 2012 to the present day, he has held the office of the presidency. While some praised Putin’s partial reversal of Russia’s economic fortunes, his tenure has sent the country sliding back into authoritarianism, according to the Economist’s Democracy Index.
The Russian president has also been a fixture in global news lately due to – among other things – the ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign, tensions around Syria, and the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in Britain.
Here are some quotes that provide some insight into how Putin sees the world:
‘I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days.’
The Russian president has a history of making sexist comments, USA Today reported. He let another one fly while speaking to Oliver Stone for his documentary “The Putin Interviews” – which was criticized for “pandering” to the Russian president.
‘The task of the government is not only to pour honey into a cup, but sometimes to give bitter medicine.’
After announcing his intention to run for the presidency in 2012, the politician said that the Russian government would need to take controversial steps to deal with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, NBC reported.
‘It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.’
Putin scoffed at the idea of American exceptionalism in his 2013 New York Times op-ed.
In 2000, Russia’s Kursk submarine sank in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 people aboard. Putin’s government went on to release confusing statements about what went wrong. During an appearance on Larry King’s talk show, Putin provided a terse, two word answer about what happened to the submarine, The Telegraph reported. When the mother of one of the victims confronted him during a meeting with family members, she was violently sedated, the New York Post reported.
‘Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right.’
At the 2014 G-8 Summit, Putin clashed with other world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, over the issue of providing support to Syrian rebels. After the tense talks, he defended his opposition to the move, Time reported.
‘We will chase terrorists everywhere. If in an airport, then in the airport. So if we find them in the toilet, excuse me, we’ll rub them out in the outhouse. And that’s it, case closed.’
In 1999, while responding to a reporter’s question about Russia’s war with Chechenya, Putin outlined this colorful and controversial description of his counter-terrorism strategy, The Telegraph reported. He apologized for the statement in 2011.
‘The more I know about people, the more I like dogs. I simply like animals.’
Putin is a famous dog-lover, The Telegraph reported. He owns a 15-year-old black Labrador named Konni, an Akita Inu named Yume, and a Karakachan Dog named Buffy.
‘I am the wealthiest man, not just in Europe, but in the whole world. I collect emotions.’
It’s unclear how much Putin is actually worth. Estimates range around $40 billion, according to Fortune. However, “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin” quotes Putin as saying his “greatest wealth” was the happiness he felt over being elected to lead Russia.
‘Everything will probably never be okay. But we have to try for it.’
In 2013, Putin hosted a televised Q&A session that lasted for a staggering four hours and 47 minutes. During that time, the Russian president was asked: “When will everything be okay?” His response was bleak, according to the Guardian.