Monday, July 17, 2006

Putin digs at Blair and Bush

Vladimir's Putin's digs at the hypocrisy of Tony Blair and George W. Bush were faithfully recorded by the Sunday papers which hold both men in such high esteem, the Telegraph and the Observer respectively.

"President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at Tony Blair and Lord Levy last night, making clear he thought British criticism of Russian democracy was hypocritical in light of the "cash for peerages" scandal...

"There are also other questions," he said. "Questions, let's say, about the fight against corruption. We'd be interested in hearing your experience, including how it applies to Lord Levy.""

"Vladimir Putin delivered a barbed retort to George Bush's muted criticism of Russia's democratic record yesterday when he told reporters at a joint press conference that he did not want to head a democracy like Iraq's.

The remark, which raised a loud laugh from the assembled press pool, capped a joint appearance that exposed how relations between the two men have become strained in the past two years, since Washington began criticising Putin's iron grip on Russia's media and politics.

Bush said that, during two hours of discussions, 'I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion. I told [Putin] a lot of people in our country ... would hope that Russia would do the same thing. I fully understand, however, that there will be a Russian style of democracy.'

Putin replied, smiling: 'I'll be honest with you: we, of course, would not want to have a democracy like in Iraq.' "

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