First Ahmedinejad, now Putin. How come every other country has a President that can speak without eliciting contempt?
Vladimir Putin not only avoided replying in kind to Cheney's ill-advised remarks from last week, but he stayed focused on what matters most to Russians - Russians.
"Not everyone in the world has been able to move on from the stereotypes of bloc thinking and prejudices which are a carry-over from the epoch of global confrontation, though there have been fundamental changes in the world," he said.Pretty mild-mannered considering what Doctor Death said:
[Last week] U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking in Vilnius, accused Moscow of backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy resources as a tool for "intimidation and blackmail" against its neighbours.And he barely acknowledge the crisis over Iran except to say:
Putin said Russia stood "unambiguously" for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the world.He - unlike some people we know - learns not only from his own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others.
[But]"Methods of force rarely give the desired result and often their consequences are even more terrible than the original threat.* * *
Putin [zeroed] in instead on Russia's catastrophic demographic situation, saying the population of the country was falling by 700,000 people every year.
To wild applause from officials, he said a special programme would be set up in the 2007 state budget that would make 1,500 roubles (30 pound) monthly payouts to families for their first baby and double that sum for a second child.
"The problem of low birth rates cannot be resolved without a change in the attitude of our society towards the issue of family and family values," he said.
"We must not repeat the mistakes of the Soviet Union, and of the Cold War. We must not sacrifice the interests of socio-economic development to develop our military complex. That is a dead end."